Though court in Liberia adjudged him not guilty for passport scandal, the United States Government has formally barred former Liberia passport director Andrew Wonplo and his entire family from traveling to America “due to his involvement in significant corruption.”
“Today, I am announcing the public designation of the former Director of Passport and Visas at the Liberian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrew Wonplo, due to his involvement in significant corruption”, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, ordered in a statement issued Thursday, 10 September in Washington.
Secretary of State Pompeo explains that 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 the current government’s management of identification and travel documents, and compromised the integrity and security of immigration processes.
“This designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94)”, reads that statement published on the United States Embassy’s website in Monrovia.
The U.S. Government notes that under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.
The statement continues that the law also requires the Secretary of State to either publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members.
“In addition to Mr. Wonplo, I am announcing the public designation of his spouse, Dennice Wonplo, and their minor children”, Mr. Pompeo adds.
The American official says this designation reaffirms U.S. commitment to standing with the people and Government of Liberia in their fight against corruption, promising to continuously collaborate with Liberian authorities to promote accountability for corrupt actors in this region and globally.
However, Criminal Court C at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia under Judge Yamie Gbeisay in July 2019 drop prosecution charges against defendant Andrew Wonploe, and his associate due to the Ministry of Justice (prosecutors) failure to make substantial follow-up on the case.
Under multiple charges, Wonplo was disgracefully dragged before the Monrovia City Court following investigation into his alleged involvement into a major passport scandal that the Government of Liberia disclosed resulted to the loss of US$25,000 in revenue.
Investigators’ probe into the scandal resulted to charges being brought against Mr. Wonplo and a Nigerian national defendant Adedoyin Emmanuel Atiro who had also allegedly been purporting as an authority at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in awarding travel opportunities and receiving money from his victims.