Liberia: Leading CSO Calls on President Weah to Revoke All Diplomatic Passports, Launch Rigorous Issuance Process
Monrovia – Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, through its Executive Director Eddie Jarwolo is calling on President George Manneh Weah to revoke all diplomatic passports and thereafter, launch a rigorous issuance process to stop the passport from getting in the wrong hands.
Naymote’s request is in response to the latest twist in Sheikh Bassirou Kante’s ongoing investigation by U.S. authorities where Kante was found with Liberian diplomatic passport.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Naymote expressed disappointment over what it termed as the issuance of Liberian diplomatic passports to high profile criminals globally.
As part of its full coverage of the case, FrontPage Africa reported that the popular Liberian businessman nabbed in the United States for wire fraud amounting to over US$7 million could not secure a bail bond as the court has taken into consideration several factors, including his possession of a Liberian Diplomatic passport and his very close ties with the Liberian government.
In the statement, Naymote said: “The recent case of Sheikh Bassirou Kante, which was published in the FrontPage Africa, May 9 edition should call the attention of all well-meaning Liberians as this is dangerous to the country’s international image, peace and global security.
It continued: “Naymote therefore calls on President Weah to muster the political will to with immediate effect revoke all Official and Diplomatic passports previously issued, and ensure a rigorous issuance process for the protection of Liberia’s international image and global security as it’s alarming the constant news of diplomatic passports in the hands of criminals.”
It can be recalled that on September 10, 2020, former United States Secretary of State Micheal R. Pompeo announced the public designation of former Director of Passport and Visas, Andrew Wonplo.
According to the U.S. Government, the announcement made due to Mr. Wonplo’s involvement in significant corruption as an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2018-2019.
The organization said this allegation of passport fraud and corruption was not adequately investigated when Mr. Wonplo left the country and later informed Liberians that authorization of issuing diplomatic passports came from his bosses including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and office of the President of Liberia. Naymote said this issue has the propensity to undermine the integrity of the country’s official traveling documents and security of the immigration processes.
The Diplomatic Passport purportedly issued to Kante on August 12, 2020 listed him as a Chief of Staff in the office of Representative A. Vamuyah Corneh III (District#14, Montserrado County).
In the statement, the Naymoten also called on the “Leadership of the House of Representatives to immediately proceed with an investigation of their colleague on how this alleged Chief of Staff obtained this diplomatic passport.”
It called on the committees on Foreign Affairs, and Judiciary in the Liberian Legislature to use their oversight function to ensure the issuance of diplomatic passports to criminals are put to an end and those involved should be prosecuted under the laws of Liberia.
The organization, through its boss also called on all diplomatic missions in Liberia and globally including Interpol to thoroughly investigate individuals holding Liberia’s diplomatic passports before giving them any opportunity that they so desire including obtaining travel visas.
It also welcomed the pro-active involvement of the United States Government to go after criminals, money launderers, drug traffickers, corrupt officials, and dangerous persons in the country to bring them to justice.
It called on the Liberian government to cooperate with the United States Government to prosecute those identified as criminals and corrupt officials within the current government which will ensure the political will to fight corruption and foster peace and security in the region.
It CSO also remind President Weah of his commitments during the U.S. Democracy Summit in December 2021 including the establishment of a dedicated criminal court for the prosecution and convictions of public officials, individuals, or institutions engaged in corrupt practices and financial offenses among other commitments.