Two Liberian Diplomats Expelled by UK Government


Monrovia – The United Kingdom government has declared two Liberian diplomats serving at the Liberian Embassy in London as persona non grata.

Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]

Full details of the declaration have not been disclosed but the two Liberian diplomats have been expelled from the country.

Mr. Jay Napoleon Toquie, II and Mr. Chester Dweh Barh, Sr. were notified of their “persona non grata” status through a written communication via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the U.K. Government.

“I am writing to formally inform you that Her Majesty’s government, in accordance with Article 9(1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, has today, November 21, 2017, advised two members of your mission through writing that they are persona non grata with immediate effect from January 8, 2018,” the letter, a copy of which has been obtained by FrontPageAfrica, reads.

The letter, written by Barry Nicholas of the Diplomatic Missions and Foreign Organizations Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, informs the Charge d’Affaires of the Liberian Embassy in London, Mr. Ibrahim Nyei, about the UK government’s decision.

By extension, the families and all other dependents of the two expelled diplomats have been affected by the declaration and have also been notified of Her Majesty, the Queen’s government decision, the letter says.

It did not provide further explanation for the expulsion of the Foreign Service workers, but cited Article 9(1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

“The receiving State may at any point in time without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable…”

While it remains unclear what prompted the UK’s decision, diplomatic sources hinted FPA that the British Police have succeeded in compiling a dossier of evidence linking the two staffs of the Liberian Diplomatic Mission in London to alleged money laundering with some Europeans, fraud, and prostitution within the Liberian Embassy.

Sources say the two have often embarrassed the country by violating local laws.

Mr. Toquie, II, was commissioned in 2007 by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the First Secretary and Consul of the Embassy of Liberia to Great Britain and Northern Ireland, while Mr. Barh serves as Counselor at the Embassy in London.

Their exempt status from immigration control will expire on January 18, 2018 when the declaration takes full effect, according to the letter.

This means Toquie and Barh would have to leave the United Kingdom before January 18 next year or get arrested and prosecuted under UK laws for whatever crime they are alleged to have committed.

In international relations, a persona non grata is a foreign person who’s entering or remaining in a particular country is prohibited by that country’s government.

It’s an extreme condemnation a country can apply to a foreign diplomat, who is protected by immunity from arrest or prosecution.

According to our source, investigations into these suspicions have been ongoing over the last two years.

Our source said, one of the expelled diplomats was once upon a time accused of slavery wherein he was allegedly involved in taking Liberians to the U.K., seized their passports, kept them in his home and molested them.

Accusations of misdeeds and undiplomatic behaviors at the Liberian embassy in London have in recent months attracted concerns within the country’s Foreign Service sector.

Dr. Mohammed Sheriff, former Ambassador to the United Kingdom, alleged that members of the diplomatic mission in London often perceived him as a difficult person to work with because of his stance against acts of corruption, lack of accountability and staffs’ laissez faire attitudes at the embassy.

In an interview with Liberian journalists, he claimed to have notified the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia on several occasions about the situation but to no avail.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had earlier recalled Ambassador Sheriff for comments he made about former President Charles Taylor on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Dr. Sheriff told the BBC’s ‘Focus on Africa program (aired at 5pm on Wednesday, September 20 that he believes President Charles Taylor has changed and should be freed and allowed to participate in political activities in Liberia.

He described President Sirleaf’s action as harsh and unwarranted, alleging that his removal was rather due to this epic stance against the corruption that the Mission in London was entrenched in.

Meanwhile, Liberia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to comment on the “persona non grata declaration” made by the U.K. Government against two of its officials.

This is not the first time a Liberian diplomatic mission has been accused of alleged crimes including corruption.

In 2014, FrontPageAfrica broke a story of the then Liberian Ambassador to Brussels, Francis Karpeh’s alleged involvement into faking lease agreement for his residence in Brussels amounting to 3,600 Euros a month with a yearly sum of 43,200 Euros (about US$ 56,160 yearly) which he presented to the Government of Liberia.

However, FrontPageAfrica’s investigation found that there were two lease agreements in the possession of Ambassador Karpeh.

But ESTIA, the company from which the Ambassador seems to have acquired the lease agreement, said the contract was faked.

The company told FrontPageAfrica’s counterpart VTM NIEUWS in Brussels that it has no contract with the Liberian Embassy.

FrontPageAfrica’s investigation at the time established that Amb. Karpeh was instead living at an apartment where he paid only 1,140 Euros while the Government of Liberia constantly raised voucher for the payment of the purported US$56,160 per annum apartment drawn from fake lease agreement.