Liberia’s Diplomatic Passports a Call for Action
(May 10, 2022) Naymote Partners for Democratic Development has expressed total disappointment with the issuance of Liberian diplomatic passports to high profile criminals globally. The recent case of Sheikh Bassirou Kante, which was published in the Frontpage Africa, May 9 edition should call the attention of all well-meaning Liberians as this is dangerous to the country’s international image, peace and global security. Naymote therefore calls on President Weah to muster the political will to with immediate effect revoke all Official and Diplomatic passports previously issued, and ensure a rigorous issuance process for the protection of Liberia’s international image and global security as its alarming the constant news of diplomatic passports in the hands of criminals.
It can be recalled that on September 10, 2020, former United States Secretary of State Micheal R. Pompeo announced the public designation of former Director of Passport and Visas, Andrew Wonplo. The announcement was made according to the U.S. Government due to Mr. Wonplo involvement in significant corruption as an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2018-2019.This allegation of passport fraud and corruption was not adequately investigated when Mr. Wonplo left the country and later informed Liberians that authorization of issuing diplomatic passports came from his bosses including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and office of the President of Liberia. This issue has the propensity of undermining the integrity of the country’s official traveling documents and security of the immigration processes.
The Diplomatic Passport issued to Kante listed him as a Chief of Staff, Office of the Representative of District 14 in Montserrado County which was issued on 12 August 2020. We are calling on the Leadership of the House of Representatives to immediately proceed with an investigation of their colleague on how this alleged Chief of Staff obtained this diplomatic passport. The committees on Foreign Affairs, and Judiciary in the Liberian Legislature should use their oversight function to ensure the issuance of diplomatic passports to criminals are put to an end and those involved should be prosecuted under the law of Liberia.
We also call on all diplomatic missions in Liberia and globally including Interpol to thoroughly investigate individuals holding Liberia’s diplomatic passports before giving them any opportunity that they so desire including obtaining travel visas.
Naymote, through its Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo welcomes the pro-active involvement of the United States Government to go after criminals, money launderers, drug traffickers, corrupt officials, and dangerous persons in the country to bring them to justice. He calls on the Liberian government to cooperate with the United States Government to prosecute those identified as criminals and corrupt officials within the current government which will ensure the political will to fight corruption and foster peace and security in the region.
The Naymote boss used the occasion to remind President George M. Weah of his commitments during the U.S. Democracy Summit in December 2021 including the establishment of a dedicated criminal court for the prosecution and convictions of public officials, individuals, or institutions engaged in corrupt practices and financial offenses among other commitments.