Liberian Diplomatic Passports In Wrong Hands

...European Countries Raise Concern; NTGL Orders Probe

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted June 18, 2004

It has been disclosed in Monrovia by the head of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant, that some European nations have expressed grave concern about the high number of individuals possessing Liberian diplomatic passports and therefore, posing as Honorable Consuls and Consul Generals representing Liberia abroad;as Patrick K. Wrokpoh reports.

Information Minister C. William Allen yesterday told journalists that the concerns of the European nations were raised with the NTGL Chairman when he visited Europe recently while on a special mission to Washington DC to address the United Nations Security Council on the need to lifting the sanction regime that has been imposed on the country.

Addressing Executive Mansion reporters shortly after Chairman Bryant had held his first meeting with members of his cabinet since his arrival in the country from the United States last Sunday, Minister Allen said the concern was raised with Chairman Bryant when he met with the German Foreign Ministry during a visit to Europe.

Minister Allen who was with the NTGL Chairman’s Chief of Information, Spencer Brown, when he was briefing journalists, said some of those that are in possession of these diplomatic passports are involved in criminal activities abroad, stressing that because the government is taking the matter serious, Chairman Bryant has ordered the Ministry of Justice to investigate the issue.

Minister Allen said the NTGL Chairman resolved during the cabinet meeting to order the Ministry of Justice to work in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to revoke some of these passports that have landed in the hands of the wrong people or issued inappropriately.

According to the Information Minister, some of these passports were issued to some of these individuals by the immediate past government.

The Information Minister further quoted the NTGL Chairman as also expressing grave concern over the situation facing Liberia’s diplomatic missions abroad, iterating that there is a need for support to these missions abroad as well as providing the needed funding to their staff and their operation.

For some time now, there have been reports over the illegal possession of Liberian passports by individuals some of whom are not even Liberians while others are claiming to be working within Liberia’s foreign service, just to enjoy some kind of diplomatic immunity. These reports also say that some of these individuals who are involved in dubious often escape arrest or prosecution because of diplomatic immunity.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.