Three out of four persons fraudulently recruited in September this year to attend a trade seminar in South Korea have reportedly gone missing in the country.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister for Public Affairs Sylvester Pewee said the ministry did not sanction those who went for the training but that their recruitment was fraudulently done within the ministry and preliminary investigation has identified some of those believed to be involved.
He added that the minister’s signature was forged in the process; one employee has been suspended and turned over to the Ministry of Justice for investigation. Mr. Pewee said when the Ministry of Justice concludes its preliminary investigation and MOFA receives a result from there, the Foreign Ministry will bring out more information about the fraudulent act.
The Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) through the African Union Commission requested the participation of Africans, including Liberians, in a training program under the theme, “Trade Facilitation Through Modernization of Administration in Custom,” which ran from September 2 to 15, 2018.
The intent of this training set the basis for participants to come mainly from the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), but investigation shows that they were recruited in the circle of the Foreign Ministry where the invitation from KOICA, through the AU Commission, first landed.
Those on the list of the training were Watta Meme Sheriff, ‘fake’ Port Operations Officer, Fovormo Barvogui, ‘fake’ Assistant Commissioner for Customs; Foley S. Kanneh, ‘fake’ Expert on Taxpayer Services, and Cloe D. Nagbe, ‘fake’ Policy Technical & Operations Officer.
Those remaining at large include Fovormo Barvogui, Watta Meme Sheriff and Mawa K. Cudjoe, all Liberians who have not returned to the country since the end of the training. Mawa K. Cudjoe is one of the names on the KOICA list of people at large, but not on the one received from sources in Liberia.
When the LRA was contacted, it registered its total dismay about any training opportunity for its employees to benefit. Mr. Kaihenneh Sengbeh, Communications Director of the Liberia Revenue Authority, told the Daily Observer that, “On the record, the LRA has no communication from the AU Commission about any training that any of our employees has to attend, and there are no record bearing names of any LRA employees attending training in South Korea.”
Failure of these people to return comes at a time when many sub-Saharan Africans are leaving their countries to seek greener pastures in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere.
South Korea has in recent time become a place of migration for many Liberians on account of information that it accepts migrants and there are lots of job opportunities that change people’s impoverished status.
In a letter dated September 18, 2018, to the AU Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, KOICA requested the commission to investigate to ascertain whether or not those Liberians boarded another flight to return to their country of origin.