The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dismissed with immediate effect, five personnel of its Internal Security Bureau for allegedly extorting monies from members of the public in an effort to facilitate the processing Liberian passports.

The Foreign Ministry decision followed an intensive and careful investigation conducted by the Internal Security Bureau which proved the five security officers extorted monies from passport applicants.

A Foreign Ministry release named the five officers as Agents Francis Sieh, Joseph Davis, Washington Waylee, Dadial Freeman and Olton Nyanfoh.

According to the release, the action of the five security agents brings the integrity of the Internal Security Division to question and also has the potential to reflect negatively on the image of the Ministry at a time when the Ministry is exerting all efforts to improve the passport service delivery system to the public.

There have been repeated complaints from members of the public about monies being extorted from them by some security personnel and other personnel of the Ministry to process passport far above the approved passport price of US$23.

The Foreign Ministry release said the decision to dismiss the five security personnel is in line with Chapter 4 Section 4.2.2(h) (Dishonesty in the Conduct of the Government Business) of the Standing Order of the Civil Service.

Meanwhile, in order to enhance the integrity of the passport issuance process, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said it has ordered the placement of complaints and suggestion boxes in the Passport Division for the public to report any attempt of extortion or acts unbecoming of personnel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The release signed by Horatio Bobby Willie, Assistant Minister for Public Affairs noted that the suggestion boxes would be placed in the Passport Division beginning June 24, 2014.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is therefore urging members of the public to follow the passport guidelines posted on its website (www.mofa.gov.lr) or the guidelines placed on large bulletins in the Passport Section,” the release continued. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains that the price for all versions of the Liberian Passport issued locally remains at US$23 and that any decision to increase the price of passport will be adequately communicated to the public.”

Meanwhile, Sengbeh’s Weblog has yet to contact the accused for comment as they could not be reached before this post.

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