Liberia: Court Dismisses Charges Against Passport Director Wonploe

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Monrovia – Indicted Director of Passport of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrew Wonploe, escorted by several relatives, walked out of court on Tuesday, July 14 on the grounds of the Temple of Justice with smiles after charges were dropped against him.

Tuesday’s ruling by the court came after Wonploe’s lawyer had filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the indictment and charges brought against him by state prosecutors in 2019.

Wonploe’s lawyer had earlier argued that the law provides that when an indictment has been drawn against a Defendant, the State has within two terms of court to try that Defendant but in the case involving his client, the state had failed to try the Defendant, thereby, violating the law.

Reading the final ruling at the Criminal Court “C” Tuesday, Judge Yarmie Gbeisay stated that Defendant Wonploe was indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County during its August 2019 sitting. He was charged for economic sabotage, theft of property and criminal conspiracy.

His indictment, the Grand Jury stated, was predicated upon allegation that the Defendant created a scam while in possession of 4,250 pieces of blank Liberian passports at the time he served as passport director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It added that he conspired and connived with a Nigerian, Adedoyib Atiro, to sell Liberian passports to non-Liberians at the cost of US$1,000.00 for each.

The indictment added that the scam resulted to the Government of Liberia sustaining the loss of US$25,000.

According to Judge Gbeisay, the law provides that when a Defendant is indicted as in the case of Wonploe, he has two terms of court to be tried if not charges against that Defendant shall be dismissed.

“The ruling of this court in the indictment/charges leveled against Defendant Andrew Wonploe’s is hereby dismissed and his bond ordered return to him,” ruled Judge Gbeisay. 

Regrettably, there was no prosecutor in the court for the ruling with no excuse given by anyone on their behalf, a court designated proxy for the prosecution took exception to the ruling. 

Acquitted passport Director Wonploe told FrontPageAfrica outside the court that he was of the strongest conviction that charges against him was going to be dropped because there was no evidence for the state to pursue the case against him.

“I am a CDCian and will always remain a CDCian, this lie will not cause me to quit, all I wanted to do is to safeguard by character,” said Wonploe when asked about his status with the ruling party.

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