Foreign Ministry Dismisses Five Extortion

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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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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