A country is in trouble when its king is a youth and its leaders feast all night long (Ecclesiastics 10:16) and indeed, no matter in which direction a tree falls, it will lie where it fell (Ecclesiastics 11:3)
Amidst claims and counter-claims coupled with denial as the passports debacle is in no hurry of fading away any time soon, the embattled former Director of Passports Andrew Wonplo has from his disturbing reservoir, has unleashed another startling revelation that the Trio-President George M. Weah, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel Farlo McGill and former barricaded (passports wise) Foreign Minister Gebzohngar M. Findley allegedly received US$300,000 every week from the sale of diplomatic passports.
In an audio tape played on a local radio in Monrovia on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 Wonplo thundered another allegation that “these people” have been finding ways to put ugly things on him over the entire scandal.
In the audio tape, he (Wonplo) also noted that “ever since they’ve been eating the Liberian people money then they’re looking for way to put the heavy load on me and my family. Can you imagine that?” the former embattled Passport Director is heard asking.
Embattled Wonplo who directly implicated the former barricaded Foreign Minister Findley said, “you know! You were the one acting on behalf of the President. You have to say something.”
Embattled Wonplo is currently in hiding for fear of his life while the Government of Liberia is attempting to re-indict and re-arrest him over the same charges.
Meanwhile, the Executive Mansion has revealed that President George M. Weah was the one who hinted security personnel on Mr. Andrew Wonplo’s involvement in the alleged passport syndicate and was never associated with such a ‘criminal act.’
The FrontPageAfrica quoting the Presidential Press Secretary, Mr. Isaac Solo Kelgbeh noted that “it was the President who gave the tip to security people to apprehend him. If the President had dirty deeds, would he have done that?” Kelgbeh opined.
It is not clear how long it took President Weah to inform the security on Mr. Wonplo’s deeds, but some pundits have expressed doubt over why such information was within the confines of President Weah and that immediate action not taken to dismiss Wonplo, especially when he (Wonplo) was just implicated.
The Executive Mansion response comes days after Wonplue, the man in the center of the ‘dubious passport sale’ linked President Weah to receiving US$300,000, (Three Hundred Thousand USD) weekly.
Kelgbeh told Executive Mansion reporters Tuesday, October 6, that the President would have seen no business in hinting security personnel about Wonplue’s ‘criminal behavior’ if he was involved with such act.
Mr. Wonplo was heard in an audio played on the OK FM Morning Drive accusing President Weah of receiving US$300,000 weekly as bribe fees for passport being sold. However, Mr. Kelgbeh wonders why Mr. Wonplo did not make all of the revelations being alleged by him when he was still heading the Passport Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, barricaded former Minister Findley has since issued a denial saying, “I must indicate categorically that at no time did I, Amb. Gbehzohngar M. Findley, as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia, instruct the former Director of Passport & Visas, Mr. Andrew Wonplo to trade Liberian Passports to non-Liberians.
Barricaded Findley continues, “my service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Republic of Liberia was characterized by service to country, commitment to duty, strengthening bilateral and multilateral relationships, upholding the rule of law, and dedication to delivering the statutory mandate of the Ministry; which I did to the best of my ability in conformity with law.”
At the same time, barricaded Findley in at a recent news conference in Grand Bassa took on a two-prone attack on his accuser (Wonplo) and his arch-political rival for the senatorial position Karnga-Lawrence for taking a pop shot at him for the passport scandal.
Barricaded former Foreign Minister Milton Gbehzohngar Findley called on Senator Nyonblee Kangar-Lawrence, the incumbent and his major rival in the upcoming Special Senatorial Election in Grand Bassa County to focus more on her campaign and stop what he terms as the cheap talk of implicating him into the illegal selling of 4,000 Liberia diplomatic passports.
Senator Lawrence in her comment said: “As a proud Liberian, a Senator, and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, I hope that these allegations, which now swirl around the President and the Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, are not true. Because were they to be true, they would present us with our most embarrassing, shameful, and degrading international moment since the war brought our nation to our collective knees.”
According to him, under the system set up at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is not possible for anybody to take 4,000 passports, personalized it, take the money, and put it in their pockets. “So, Senator Lawrence, you got to deal with me in Bassa. I am not going to be distracted by you paying people to do news articles. That is why we are having a press conference in Buchannan,” barricaded Findley said.
The former barricaded Minister added: “I will say this to you all, that Senator Lawrence believes in a criminal, she believes that what this criminal is saying is more credible than Gbehzohngar Findley, what it tells you –that she, herself is a criminal. Because if you believe in a criminal and come and brand somebody who is unblemished. If she knew the level of work that has done in this case, she wouldn’t be talking. She will be focusing on trying to take herself back to Grand Bassa and try to apologize to the Bassa people rather than calling somebody a criminal. She needs to apologize to the Bassa people for doing nothing for eight years,” Mr. Findley said.
Moreover, discussions of the passport scandal has overtaken debates in various quarters and Liberian social media sites with some calling on the National Legislature to open an independent investigation to ascertain if President Weah and others are linked to the alleged criminal behavior.
Accordingly, calls are also growing for the U.S. to release details of any information on the involvement of those alleged to be part of the passport syndicate.
This being an open secret, the Weah Administration has been pounded by series of high profile financial scandals since taking office in January 2018.
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