At a news conference yesterday, Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmick Z. Piah said the issue is of grave concern to the President, and she has called for a full investigation
Two days ago, the Government of Liberia said Mr. Cortzen’s action was not only immoral but criminal and offensive to the Government and people of Liberia.
In a documentary, Cortzen said his motive was going undercover to explore the nefarious world of blood diamonds and corruption in Africa.
He tricked his way into North Korea under the guise of leading a troupe of performers in order to shoot his critically acclaimed documentary, 'The Red Chapel', about the secretive state.
Cortzen used the passport, purchased illegally through certain individuals, and entered the CAR under the false premise of setting up a matches stick factory, though his actual goal was to track down ‘blood diamonds.”
His subsequent documentary, 'The Ambassador’ released last year, exposed widespread corruption in West and Central Africa.
Cortzen, who now runs upstart radio station Radio24syv, is currently in New Zealand promoting 'The Ambassador' and told Politiken newspaper that he found the situation peculiar.
“If a journalist from Liberia had exposed that it was possible to bribe the Danish foreign minister and fool the country’s leading corporate lawyer, it would be strange if the Danish state then chose to start legal proceedings against the Liberian journalist,” Cortzen told a news paper in Denmark, adding that he has no intention to come to Liberia to defend himself.
He said: “Legal practice and the prison service in Liberia both leave much to be desired. It’s a country where the president’s son is the chairman of the National Oil Commission even though he knows nothing about oil.”
He admitted that he fraudulently purchased a Liberian diplomatic position and passport for USD150, 000.00 through a network that allegedly advertises and unauthorizingly sells diplomatic positions of struggling countries, including Liberia, via the World Wide Web.
However the government said since 2006 President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has waged a determined fight against corruption and has worked to clean up the blemished reputation of Liberia’s Foreign Service during the years of the civil conflict.
The government further announced that in 2007, it felt compelled and subsequently suspended all Consul Generals, especially those appointed during the long years of the conflict.
A statement from the MOI quoted government as saying that it undertook a comprehensive review of the processes by which individuals were appointed to Liberia’s Honorary Consular Corps.
“This action was intended to purge the system of suspected and perceived lapses. As such, all current Consul Generals have been re-vetted and only those found to be of high moral repute, in good standing and supportive of Liberia’s developmental goals and aspirations were reconfirmed or appointed,” the statement said.
The government said it pursued this course with diligence and scrupulousness but was shocked that Mr. Cortzen, could have breached the system.
“The Government of Liberia strongly condemns the fraudulent acquisition and abuse of Liberia’s recovering diplomatic image by Mr. Cortzen and his accomplices,” the statement said.
“Even though Mr. Cortzen, by his own admission, …acquired Liberia’s diplomatic title and passport allegedly from an on-line service, by which he admits,… to the commission of bribery under Liberian law, the Government has launched a full-scale investigation into how Mr. Cortzen breached the system…” the statement said.
As the same time, Government said it would institute legal action against Mr. Cortzen, and is seeking the appropriate explanations and redress from the governments of the Central African Republic and Denmark through diplomatic channels.
The Government also announced that it is reviewing all appointments of Honorary Counsels, and shall immediately revoke the commission of anyone who is suspected of having acquired same under false pretenses.