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Corruption hunts dual citizenship

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 2016 Independence PixPresident Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says financial improprieties and illegal conducts engaged into by some returning US-based Liberians may have influenced a lot of Liberians at home against accepting call to legalize dual citizenship.

“Very true that we’ve had one or two instances where those coming from the US have engaged in malpractices here – financial improprieties and have used the right of having a citizenship elsewhere to leave the country and we find it difficult to get them back for them to answer,” President Sirleaf said Tuesday, 19 January.

Addressing a delegation of United Liberians Association in Ghana (ULAG) and America (ULAA) at her temporary office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Sirleaf said a lot of Liberians at home say they are not going to give diaspora Liberians the opportunity to come here and do things that are inappropriate and illegal and then run back to where they come from.

“But I think that’s not a very widely-spread view because the incidences are not many; we have a lot of good people that have returned and young people that have returned, and they are all working very hard, you know, to help us to rebuild this country,” she argued.

On the delegation were ULAG Board of Director Dr. Allison F. Hughes, ULAG Secretary Ms. Marilyn Diamond Shannon and the ULAA Secretary General Mr. Arthur Wead Doe, among others. Mrs. Sirleaf however praised diaspora Liberians for being the overwhelming people in terms of helping in the rebuilding process of the country, suggesting that “there’s much, much more good than bad when it comes to those in the diaspora and how to …. handle the situation here.”

On the dual citizenship debate, Mrs. Sirleaf says legal minds are needed to get together and do an amendment, while urging the Liberian delegates to be careful in the process. She informed the delegates of a recent retreat with legislators, saying in effect, she has [recommended] to their consideration for this to go to referendum.

The President pledged to continue to work on that, but cautioned that it has been brought to her attention that one needs not pursue it alone, adding “ … we can now go the legal route …” In a note read to President Sirleaf on behalf of the delegation, Ms. Marilyn Diamond Shannon argued the Act (against dual citizenship) is not constitutionally permissive, unconstitutional and lacks due process.

“Since this law strips people of their citizenship, which thus deprives people of their property rights, this constitutes undue taking of people’s properties without just cause or due process,” the delegation argues.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne

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