Liberia: NIR Denies Issuing National ID Cards to Foreign Nationals

Authorities of the National Identification Registry (NIR) have rejected claims that it is issuing foreign nationals' citizens’ ID cards, instead of “resident ID cards" with the criteria of presenting a “work permit." 

John Tiah Nagbe, the Executive Director of the NIR, disclosed that the ID cards issued to foreign nationals are biometric and green, while citizen ID cards for Liberians are subject to the requirement of presenting either a birth certificate, a voting card, or a passport.

He added that the citizens' ID cards are also biometric but blue. The NIR Executive Director made the disclosure in session on June 28, during the 34th day sitting of the House of Representatives. His clarification was in response to questions that arose from the alleged national ID card syndicate in the Jacob Town Community at Japan Freeway.

He also confirmed that an employee of the NIR, an IT Enrollment Operator, Foday Kanneh, who was assigned in Margibi County, was engaged in the unauthorized attempt of issuing National Citizen ID Cards to residents of the Jacob Town Community in Monrovia. 

The NIR boss indicated that Kanneh was arrested and investigated by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and, thereafter, recommended to the NIR to punish Mr. Kanneh administratively, ruling out criminality. The incident occurred in 2020.

“Following the recommendation from the LNP, Kanneh was suspended for two months without salary and benefits and has since been reinstated,” Nagbe averred.

Nagbe’s assertions were supported by Deputy Police Commissioner Prince Mulbah, who also said in the session, that Police did not see any criminal corroboration.

The NIR and the Police were summoned by House Plenary following communication from Montserrado County District #2 Representative Jimmy Smith, who alleged that the agency IT Analyst was seen printing National ID Cards in the compound of a local clinic, which also housed Strong FM.

Rep. Smith’s complaint described the printing of the National ID cards as a criminal syndicate. He added that about 23 National ID Cards were found in the possession of Mr. Kanneh.

The NIR Executive Director and Deputy LNP Commissioner indicated that the 23 National ID Cards  found with Mr. Kanneh during the unauthorized processing of names in Jacob Town were not printed by the suspect in Jacob Town, but was done in Congo Town by the NIR authorities from previous  entrants.

They said National ID cards are printed only at the NIR  Congo  Town Office  and that agents only collect information  from citizens and residents and send them electronically  for subsequent printing  at headquarters.

Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives voted that an Adhoc Committee do further investigation and report to Plenary in two weeks.