Liberia: Pres. Weah Orders Investigation into Kante’s Passports Saga

President George Weah.

.... Mandates MOFA to Stop Issuing Diplomatic Passports

President George Weah has directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee-Maxwell Kemayah, to immediately investigate the circumstances leading to the issuance of Liberia’s Diplomatic passport to Sheik Bassirou Kante, who was recently arrested in the U.S.

Bassirou was also arrested in the United States on April 20, according to FrontPageAfrica for wire fraud amounting to over US$7 million.

The defendant could not secure bail due to his strong ties with Vice President Jewel Howard- Taylor and he had a Liberian diplomatic passport.

In his directive, the President ordered that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately stop the issuance of diplomatic passports to anyone unless otherwise authorized by him.

The Liberian Chief Executive also directed Minister Kemeyah to submit a full report detailing a review of how Liberian diplomatic passports are issued.

The report by the Foreign Minister is to be submitted within one week of the date of the President’s directive, May 10, 2022.

The President's directive comes after
FrontPageAfrica report that a Liberian diplomatic passport was discovered in the home of Sheik Bassirou Kante following his arrest for money laundering conspiracy by FBI agents in the United States.

FPA noted that it remains unclear how Kante obtained his diplomatic passport when he is not an employee of the government of Liberia or known to be a representative of the government at any of Liberia’s Foreign Missions.

"The Defendant’s ties to Liberia, moreover, are especially deep. The email search warrant production revealed that Defendant has a close personal relationship with the Vice President of Liberia. Moreover, during the execution of the search warrant at the Defendant’s residence on April 20, 2022, agents discovered that the Defendant had a Diplomatic Liberian passport," Judge Timothy J. Sullivan noted.

"That the Defendant, who occupies no formal diplomatic position within the Liberian government (a fact the Defendant admitted at the detention hearing), was nonetheless in possession of a Diplomatic Liberian passport is powerful evidence of the strength of the Defendant’s connections to the highest levels of the Liberian government. The Defendant is, after all, a citizen of Liberia, not the United States. A connection like this, therefore, only enhances the Defendant’s already elevated risk of nonappearance,” he added.

Bassirou is known to have a close relationship with the Liberian government. In February, he single-handedly paid the cost of flying in Nigerian superstars P-Square on a private jet to perform during the Bicentennial Celebrations. He paid the twin superstars US$100,000 on the ground that such was his contribution to the Bicentennial Celebration.

Meanwhile, President Weah is back in the Country following his successful participation in the Fifteenth Session of the Conference of Parties (COP15).

President Weah on May 8, joined other Leaders from the West African Subregion for the Heads of State Summit on Drought Resilience and Sustainable Land Management held from May 9-10 in Abidjan, Cote D"Ivoire.

The Summit is part of Fifteen Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Held under the Theme "Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity," COP15 is aimed at galvanizing sustainable solutions for land restoration and drought resilience, with a strong focus on future-proofing land use.

It also explored links between land and other key sustainability issues, such as land and climate, land and biodiversity, land and green jobs and gender equality.

At the Conference, the President Weah
called for collective global action to deter and weather the crippling effects of climate change, stating that there are huge benefits for Africa and the rest of the world if they acted together.

The President observed that climate change has the potential to create global insecurity.