The former Director of Passport at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrew Wonplo who was declared wanted following United States government statement issued to ban him from entering the United States with his family has opened up, linking several officials of the Liberian government including President George Manneh Weah of being in the know of the alleged passport fraud.
In a strongly worded press release issued yesterday, September 21, 2020, Wonplo said his arrest and subsequent detention was, according to him a calculated ploy by these senior officials including the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gbehzohngar Milton Findley who is now on his bid for the midterm senatorial elections, the Executive Mansion Chief of Protocol, Finda Nora Bundoo, and others of being part of the passport syndicate.
Recently, US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, in a statement Thursday announced the public designation due to Wonplo’s involvement in significant corruption. “In his official capacity at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2018 to 2019, Mr. Wonplo was involved in passport fraud that undermined the rule of law, reduced the Liberian public’s faith in their government’s management of identification and travel documents, and compromised the integrity and security of immigration processes,” the Secretary of State said.
According to the US Secretary of State, the designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94). “Under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States. The law also requires the Secretary of State to either publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members.
In addition to Mr. Wonplo, I am announcing the public designation of his spouse, Dennice Wonplo, and their minor children. This designation reaffirms U.S. commitment to standing with the people and government of Liberia in their fight against corruption. The Department will continue to use these authorities to promote accountability for corrupt actors in this region and globally.”
Detail of Mr. Wonplo’s statement will be published in our subsequent posting.