Liberia: Fraudulent Honorary Consul Appointment Backfires at Foreign Ministry
MONROVIA – FrontPageAfrica investigation has unearthed information about a Serbian national identified as Mr. Aleksander Milojevic who seeking to be an Honorary Consul of Liberia in the Republic of Serbia.
Deputy Foreign Minister Henry Fahnbulleh has allegedly given the Serbian National the assurance of getting the job unilaterally without a proper due process.
Minister Fahnbulleh has refused to respond to the allegations after he was texted twice via WhatsApp by FrontPageAfrica to provide his account and what he knows about the accusations, even though he read the messages.
But according to documents in the possession of this paper, the Serbian National wrote Acting Minister Henry B. Fahnbulleh at the time on August 20, 2020 and applied for the position of Honorary Consul of the Republic of Liberia in the Republic of Serbia.
In Mr. Milojevic’s communication of August 20, 2020, he expressed his interest and assured Minister Fahnbulleh of his deep interest in promoting the interest of the Government of Liberia in Serbia, by diplomatic means which will enhance cultural and economic opportunities for Liberians.
He indicated “I am the owner of the Company Blumen Market Doo which has been importing flowers for 20 years in Serbia”. “We are also in the business of import, export and sale of cut and potted flower with 1000 permanent clients and currently cover the entire market of the Republic of Serbia.
With this information and knowing the economic envelop involve, the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Henry B. Fahnbulleh acknowledged receipt of Mr. Aleksander Milojevic’s letter on August 27, 2020 with ref: RL/MFA/2-2/323-AMFA010930/’20. In Minister Fahnbulleh’s letter of acknowledgement, he assured Mr. Aleksander Milojevic that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Liberia was applying due diligence in vetting his application and will revert to him when a final decision is determine.
A subsequent Note Verbal, an official channel of diplomatic exchange between two countries was issued on September 10, 2020 with ref: RL/MFA/2-2/351-AMFA02005501’20 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Serbia, Belgrade in which the Government of the Republic of Liberia informed of its intention to appoint the Serbia businessman Mr. Aleksander Milojevic as Liberia’s Honorary Consul to the Republic of Serbia.
The Note Verbal also solicited the disposition of the Government of Serbia in order to accelerate the appointment of Mr. Aleksander Milojevic.
According to investigation, there are established policy guidelines in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for appointing honorary consuls out of Liberia.
Our investigation learned that in keeping with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Honorary Consul Regulation, all applicants for honorary consul license are vetted by the Foreign Service Committee which comprises the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: (Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs-Chair, Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs-Member, Deputy Minister for Administration-Member, Foreign Service Inspector-General-Member, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs-Secretary, the National Security Agency NSA-Member, the Ministry of Justice, Office of the Solicitor-General and the Office of the President of the Republic of Liberia.
Our investigation reliably established that the application for becoming an Honorary Consul requests that the applicant for Honorary Consul license write to the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressing his or her interest, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will send that communication to the Foreign Service Committee, a member of the Committee, the NSA will conduct a proper due diligence on the applicant to determine his character and other related issues surrounding his operations.
The procedure also requires that the NSA will submit its findings back to the committee who then makes a determination for consideration or rejection.
The Committee chaired by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs submits its report to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. If the report clears the applicant the Minister of Foreign Affairs writes the President seeking his approval for appointment.
Upon approval of the applicant’s by the President of the Republic of Liberia the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs by directive of the Minister of Foreign Affairs then writes the requesting country Foreign Ministry for the deposition of their government in order to facilitate the appointment along with the attach curriculum vitae of the applicant.
Upon the responds from the requesting country, the Chief of protocol of the Republic of Liberia will prepare the commission for the newly appointed Honorary Consul while the Deputy for Legal Affairs request the Director of Passport to issue the diplomatic passport to the newly appointed Honorary Consul.
FrontPageAfrica investigation discovered that the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time did not apply the standard procedure but went ahead to inform the requesting country Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia through a Note Verbal with ref: RL/MFA/2-2/351-AMFA0200550/’20 and dated September 10, 2020 of the Government of Liberia’s intention to appoint Mr. Aleksandar Milojevic as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Liberia in the Republic of Serbia.
Acting Minister Fahnbulleh did not revert to the standard procedural channel in his exchange with the Serbian businessman but with the aggressive intention to dupe, mislead, frustrate and exploit the the Serbia businessman using his position as Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as impressing the Serbian businessman and the Government of Serbia that the Government of Liberia was totally involve.
Our investigation also learned that not only did Deputy Minister Hon. Henry B. Fahnbulleh reportedly exchanged fraudulent and criminal deception communication with Mr. Milojevic and his government but allegedly received a huge sum of money in the amount of USD 25,000 from Mr. Milojevic as well as received gifts from Mr. Milojevic on behalf of the President of the Republic of Liberia which the report says he did not deliver to the President.
After several months of waiting for his appointment letter, diplomatic passport and commission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Liberia, our investigation uncovered that Mr. Milojevic expressed frustration but Deputy Minister Fahnbulleh allegedly blamed Foreign Minister Dee-Maxwell Kemayah for hindering the process after Mr. Milojevic have met all the requirements under the law but our investigation learned that on these kind of issues, if the need arises, the Foreign Minister will deal strictly with the Committee responsible.
Our sources within the foreign service also informed that because of the ongoing reform at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs all vetting for honorary consul is been suspended.
Our investigation also uncovered that Deputy Foreign Minister Fahnbulleh allegedly suggested to Mr. Milojevic to pay a week-long visit to Liberia with the intend of seeking investment opportunity but to enable him meet other top and influential officials of the Weah’s government who could possibly intervene with respect to arranging a meeting with he Mr. Milojevic and President Weah to resolve the issue of his appointment.
Based on this phase two of Deputy Minister Fahnbulleh’s alleged criminal engagement with Mr. Milojevic, a plan visit was arranged. Mr. Milojevic allegedly requested a budget to facilitate the plan visit. A budget was reportedly send by Deputy Minister Fahnbulleh.
Our sources hinted that the Human Resource Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Emmanuel Redd allegedly received the transfer through money transfer.
According to our investigation, Deputy Minister Fahnbulleh did not brief the Senior Management Team at the ministry on his activities with the Serbian Businessman.
Investigation further revealed that the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. upon his taking over of the Ministry inherited a wide spread passport scandal that brought the image of the ministry to public ridicule.
To restore the badly damage image of the Ministry and create a credible working environment to enhance best practice, the Minister lunched a three day retreat to identify the challenges and design cohesive policy measures in addressing them.
All four categories of the Liberian ECOWAS biometric passport were grossly abused during the passport scandal at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Again, Deputy Minister Fahnbulleh is in the business of soliciting money from people and authorizing privilege passports in the categories of official and service, our sources hinted.
FPA investigation also noticed that during the period Deputy Minister Fahnbulleh acted before Minister Kemayah took over 60% of the privilege passports that is (service, official and diplomatic passports were issued to the wrong people.
However, some actors at the Foreign service in liberia are calling on the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) to investigate all passports approval by Deputy Minister Fahnbulleh when he acted as Minister prior to the appointment of Minister Kemayah as a means of authenticating.
Many have suggested Clues to consider for an investigation Letter requesting the passport, investigate who was the passport issued to and including the requesting the payroll from the entity to verify as to whether the one is legally in the employ of that entity.
Moving forward, FPA investigation also learned that Deputy Minister Fahnbulleh allegedly took monies from a good number of people in and out of the Ministry with the assurance of appointing them in the Foreign Service, this situation provoked serious tension at the Ministry creating the impression that the current Minster rejected appointments of Foreign Service Officers in the field