By: Kruah Thompson
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Dee Maxwell Kemayan has set up a five-member committee to probe how Liberian Diplomatic Passport got into hand Liberia businessman Bassirou Kante, currently arrested and detained in the United State for alleged fraud and money-laundering.
President George Weah recently suspended the issuance of Liberian Diplomatic Passports and mandated Minister Kemayan to launch an investigation into the passport saga that saw a non-diplomat Bassirou Kante, carrying Liberian Diplomatic Passport.
According to report, the decision to set up an investigation panel was made in a senior management meeting convened over the weekend at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.
During the meeting, deputy foreign minister for administration Thelma E. Duncan-Sawyer was appointed to chair the special investigative committee, which is being
co-chaired by Ambassador JaJa Kamara, who chairs the policy advisory council at the ministry of foreign affairs.
Briefing reporters over the weekend, Minister Kemayan explained that in the space of their uncompromising transparency and accountability at the ministry, they designated and appointed the president of the ministry of foreign affairs workers association to be a member of the committee.
He said the foreign ministry also listed the National Security Agency (NSA) to provide technical support to the committee, as well as the Ministry of Justice, adding the active work has begun.
“I can assure you that none of our core values of transparency, equal opportunity for all, accountability, responsiveness, demand-driven, and hard work would be left unturned in ensuring that this report covers no less than the standard befitting it,” Kemayan assured.
He said as part of the investigation, the House of Representatives is extremely supportive. It has been speculated that a member of the House, Representative A. Vamuyan Corneh, gave the Diplomatic Passport to businessman Kante, but the lawmaker has denied it.
Minister Kemayan continued that on 18 May the committee met with Rep. Corneh in the presence of Speaker Bhofal Chambers.
“Let me be quick to point out that I am in no way saying or alluding to the alleged passport situation that it is a situation that occurred at the ministry, but doing that will be premature and unethical on my part and it will be undermining the ongoing investigation and so we are awaiting them.”
Besides, he said the ministry has engaged the United States Ambassador to Liberia Michael Mcarthy and requested U.S. government’s assistance to make available scan color copy of the alleged passport.
“We wrote another diplomatic note, to assist them with aspects in forensic investigation and examination of flaws. And asking them to authenticate whether it is true, that this passport is from Liberia”, he added.
However, he added the committee is expanding its work to look into the nature and scope of activities of the bearer of the Diplomatic Passport and visa.
“We took into consideration how passport books come into the country and how they are personalized, meaning for you to have a passport, it has to be personalized with your information. And the storage of the passport, the application process and acquisition process.”
Meanwhile, the Doyen of the Liberian Cabinet disclosed that the committee has asked President Weah to extend the timeframe of the investigation to two weeks in order to look into the matter carefully, which the President has granted, assuring that by June 6, 2022, full findings will be presented to President Weah.
“I can assure you that none of our core values of transparency, equal opportunity for all, accountability, responsiveness, demand-driven, and hard work will be left unturned in ensuring that this report covers no less than the standard befitting such a report”, Kemayan concludes.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/editorial-abuse-of-liberian-diplomatic-passport/ Editing by Jonathan Browne