Another Liberian Diplomatic Passport Lands In The hands Of Non-Liberian Citizen, Who Made The Approval?

(L -R) President Weah and Ambassador-At-Large Riccardo Milici (African Star ctedit)

The issuance of Liberian Diplomatic to non-Liberian citizens by authority at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without proper investigation as to who is qualified to be in the possession of the country’s image abroad seems to expose Liberia on the international scene negatively.

According to confidential information obtained by African Star from a source in the Executive Mansion – the seat of the Liberian Presidency, Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Kemayah who allegedly approved the issuance of  a 5-year diplomatic book to Ambassador-at-Large to Italy Riccardo Milici, a German national, as of January 11, 2021 and an expiration date of January 11, 2026.

Diplomatic books are routinely issued for a 2 year period by Liberia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it remains unclear why such multi-year diplomatic courtesy was offered as an exception in this case.

The source in the Executive Mansion which is knowledgeable about the circumstances leading to the issuance of the diplomatic passport to Ambassador-at-Large Mr. Milici termed it “illegal”, adding that the individual is not in the employ of the Government of Liberia.

(L -R) Ambassador-At-Large Riccardo Milici and Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dee Maxwell Kemayah (African Star credit)

Minister Kemayah has provided no explanation for the issuance of a long term passport for Mr. Milici.

According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs communication labeled RL/MFA/2-1/251-J2011476/’20 to the Italian Government, Ambassador-at-Large Milici was appointed in 2020 by former Liberian Foreign Minister Gbehzhongar Findley who was embroiled in the alleged passport scandal but was never charged nor prosecuted before and after he left the employ of the Government of Liberia. Mr. Findley has denied any involvement in the scandal.

The Government of Liberia unsuccessfully prosecuted  the dismissed former Director of Passports and Visas at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrew Wonplo.

In September 2020, the U.S. Government which was watching the passport scandal case immediately stepped in afterwards and “designated Mr. Wonplo  due to his 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 State Department explained at the time.

According to information, a Minister Counselor at the Liberian Embassy in Rome one Theresa Peters, who holds Italian nationality, allegedly introduced Ambassador-at-Large Milici to Foreign Minister Kemayah.

Liberian Diplomatic Passport (African Star credit)

African Star reached out to a top official at the Liberian Embassy in Rome who corroborated that Ms. Peters is a Minister Counselor at the Embassy but was unable to confirm her nationality. She was processed as a Liberian Embassy Staff by the Italian Foreign Ministry.

Abuse  and questionable issuance of Liberian travel documents have claimed the attention of immigration in several Western countries including the U.S. who have complained about the risks posed to their security interests. Liberian diplomatic passports are being sold through an online network for over USD $150,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars) to ineligible and shady individuals.

Of recent, the Liberian President issued instructions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate circumstances around the issuance of a diplomatic passport which was discovered by U.S. authorities in the residence of a businessman Sheik Bassirou Kante after a search. Mr. Kante  was arrested in the U.S. and charged with money laundering and wire fraud.

An Ivorian businessman Ousmane Bamba –  personal friend of President Weah was issued a Diplomatic Passport allegedly on orders of the President

At a recent press conference in Monrovia, Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Kemayah explained that President Weah has agreed to a time extension for submission of the report of the investigation which is on-going.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry in Monrovia stipulates that Diplomatic Passports are issued to Liberian diplomats accredited overseas and their eligible dependents.

On Monday, the U.S. Administration designated three senior Liberian Government officials for their involvement in ongoing public corruption in Liberia. “Through their corruption these officials have undermined democracy in Liberia for their own personal benefit,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

Sources in Washington DC say the U.S. Administration and several Western capitals have lost confidence in the Liberian Foreign Minister who is embroiled in allegations of sexual harassment for which he has been unable to travel to the U.S.

The Liberian Presidency has ignored the “diplomatic embarrassment” around the Foreign Minister since there are indications that he maintains a business relationship with the First Lady of Liberia Madam Clar Weah.

Earlier this year, his wife Dialokai Golayon Kemayah, a Liberian Consulate official in New York was declared “persona non grata” by the U.S. Government and requested to leave the country.

Credit: The African Star

Visited 417 times, 1 visit(s) today

Comments are closed.