DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT ISSUANCE SAGA REPORT PROLONGS ……As Foreign Minister Kemayah Assured US Forensic Investigation

By: Jerromie S. Walters

Capitol Hill, Monrovia, Liberia: May 20, 2022, WTVNEWS Following a mandate by President George Weah to probe matters surrounding fraudulent circumstances involving Liberian diplomatic passport within a week, Foreign Affairs Minister Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah has disclosed an extension in the period of the submission of report of the Committee, noting that the United States (US) is involved.

Minister Kemayah while addressing the Ministry of information regular press conference on Thursday, indicated that the passport saga involves the United States government, as such, the US government is requested to make available two copies of the passport to authenticate the factuality of the case and to assist with experts in order to conduct a forensic investigation.

In response to the Foreign Ministry’s request, the American government through it’s embassy near Monrovia assured it’s willingness to probe the matter and further that the report from the forensic investigation will be provided between Friday, May 20, 2022.

Following said interaction, and amid the given period mandated by the President Tuesday, May 17, 2022, the Foreign Minister noted that his investigative team made an appeal to the President for a postponement, to which the team was granted additional two weeks to provide the report, even though the US government assured that it’s findings will be out during the course of next week.

Foreign Minister Kemeyan however noted that as the story of Mr Kante’s unfolds and following several other concerns about the processes surrounding the Liberian passport issuance, the government was critical in it’s request to the United States not just to consider the matter alone in the investigation, but matter relating the entire processing of passports at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In addition, he narrated that while probing the matter at national level, members of the Liberian legislature immensely aided, specifically through the availability of District#14 Representative A. Vamuyan Corneh via mobile phone, as it’s alleged that Mr
Kante’s got hold of the passport through his office.

Though he hailed the Legislature especially the House of Representative for it’s involvement in the investigation, Minister Kemayah failed to provide the outcome of the interaction the team had with the district #14 Lawmaker.

The Foreign Minister upon noting his engagement with the district#14 lawmaker, hastily made an appeal to leave, even though scores of reporters had burning concerns.

It can be recalled that on May 10, 2022, President George Weah ordered an immediate halt to the issuance of diplomatic passports following reports that a Liberian diplomatic passport was discovered in the home of Sheik Bassirou Kante during a search by U.S. authorities.

Mr. Kante was arrested for alleged money laundering conspiracy by FBI agents in the United States in April and is currently in pre-trial detention.

It was reported that the famous Liberian businessman failed on securing a bail bond as the court has taken into consideration several factors, including his possession of a Liberian diplomatic passport.

Following the troubling reports, President Weah mandated the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee Maxwell Kemayah to suspend the issuance of diplomatic passports, and adequately probe circumstances surrounding the issuance of a Liberian diplomatic passport to Sheik Bassirou Kante.

The Foreign Minister as per the President’s mandate, was also mandated to submit a full report detailing a review of how Liberian diplomatic passports are issued, which was scheduled for submission to the President’s office in a period of one week.

Howbeit, the diplomatic passport was issued to Mr Kante on August 12, 2020, and sealed as a Chief of Staff in the office of Representative A. Vamuyan Corneh, of District#14, Montserrado County.

But however, the office of the district 14 Representative in a major press statement, debunked claims embedded in Mr Kante’s diplomatic passport, referring him as Chief of Staff within his office.

The statement further revealed that there is absolutely no position called ‘Chief of Staff’ at the House of Representatives, rather ‘Chief of Office Staff’ and as such, Kante was never n an employee of the office of Representative A. Vamuyan Corneh.

The press statement also provided that the only Chief of Office Staff in the Lawmaker’s office is Anthony D. Wisseh, Jr.; a position he has occupied since 2012. It also added that the issuing of a diplomatic passport to a staffer contravene the policy of the House of Representatives as only lawmakers and their spouses are issued diplomatic passports.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *