Despite Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Henry Bioma Fahnbulleh’s assertion that it was due to an internal auditing scheme that unearthed the passports scam and thereafter alerted the United States Government to assist the government in probing the rip-off, the controversially embattled-former Director of Passports at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Andrew Wonplo says there is a criminal cartel in the sea of corruption at the Ministry.
Wonplo noted that instead of people who are fully aware of the now broken syndicate which presided over the passports rocket giving account of the questionable more than US$3m plus over several hundred thousand US dollars; they are playing fun around here and don’t want to be serious about what the passports scam has done to the country’s security status.
Wonplo, while explaining about the financial status of the passports at the Ministry, quickly debunked ‘morally-barricaded’ former Minister Gbezohngar M. Findley that he (Wonplo) has been selling passports from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration which is a myth and exposes Findley’s corrupt quest in government.
He said it is comical for Findley to call him a criminal when it was based on his (Wonplo’s) report used by the security took the lid off the syndicate which led to Gbezohngar and others to kick him out of the Ministry especially when he refused to bathe with the soap of corruption they (Gbezohngar and the team) had offered him, knowing that he was keeping eyes on their dubious activities from the passports (including diplomatic) criminal bonanza.
The former embattled Passports Director added that if Gbezohngar has any moral standing, he should immediately relinquish his senatorial sojourn and come to Monrovia and face justice because he (Findley) has got nothing to after the people of Grand Bassa, adding that he too is ready to face any investigation that will be independently conducted, because he has no confidence in the judicial system anymore.
Promising to further expose the criminal cartel drowning in the sea of corruption, Wonplo challenged Liberians to check with the Minister of Justice and other security apparatus concerning his reports on the entire financial activities linked to the shady operations of the passports scandal championed by Gbezohngar and his cohorts, which he said are public documents that must be made available to them; he will shortly unleash another audio tape with startling revelation on the passports grim saga.
At the same time, Wonplo has named some top associates of President George M. Weah of being in the know of the sale of diplomatic passports. “As I said in my press release, I was not part of the committee, but meanwhile I was receiving instructions – and these instructions came from the higher-ups, I maintain. And who are they”?
He continues, “instructions to issue these passports came from the office of the President, it came from through individuals, the likes of Trokon Kpui, the likes of James Emmanuel Potter of course the rescue mother, Nora Finda Bundoo and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Legal, Deweh Gray.”
Meanwhile, Wonplo has also thrown out a challenge to those named to counter what he has said. “Anything I say, anybody that wants to come out, I challenge you because I know that I’m speaking with facts – and for every time I speak and you come up to challenge me, something will come out that you need to see. I am serious. I’ve said and I maintain, there was a criminal cartel, there was a team put together to start, plan and manage these activities when it comes to the issue of giving out diplomatic passport to non-Liberians.”
The embattled former Passport Director on Monday, September 28, 2020 said he has no reason to make up stories. “If you try to make up stories, the stories will not connect, and you will fall short. I am here to say nothing but the truth because I believe that it is only the truth now that can set me free because these guys decided to bother me.”
However, acting Foreign Minister Fahnbulleh at a news conference on Wednesday, September 29, 2020 challenged Mr. Andrew Wonplo, the former Director of Passports and Visas, to muster the courage to submit whatever evidence he has to the court to afford people involved the opportunity to explain themselves. “Those who are involved will go to explain themselves rather than engaging in a political assassination campaign. Muster the courage to use the court to submit those evidence so those involved will have the opportunity to defend themselves.
Fahnbulleh told the media that before an appointment is considered, there are processes that must be certified and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not sell passports. According to him, “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs doesn’t sell or has a policy that supports or encourages the sales of passport. Anyone engaged in the sale of passport is in violation of the law and should be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
He pointed out that “diplomatic, official and service passport are privileges not rights. Determination is made on who is qualified to receive. Nothing precludes government from acting in its national interest. When information surfaces that there was something criminal at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it wasn’t the FBI or NSA it was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a covert operation.”
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