‘PNG’ Embassy Officers to Exit UK by January 8

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The repatriation is in progress of two officials of the Liberian embassy accredited near London, United Kingdom.  Jay Napoleon Toquie, II and Chester Dweh Barh, were declared ‘persona non grata’ (PNG) by the British Government a fortnight ago.  The two officials are to leave the UK before January 8 next year.

The British Government’s decision was communicated through the Charge d’Affaires of the Liberian Embassy in London, Ibrahim Nyei.

Although reasons for their expulsion were not provided, embassy officials noted that the UK Government’s decision was in accordance with Article 9 (1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 which gives the receiving country the right to declare any member of a foreign mission ‘persona non grata’ without providing an explanation.

The UK letter quoted Her Majesty’s Government advising the two members of the Liberian mission to leave the United Kingdom. The letter was signed by Barry Nicholas of the Diplomatic Missions and Foreign Organizations Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In reaction, a Foreign Affairs Ministry statement yesterday confirmed the British Government’s decision to expel Toquie and Barh and arrangements being made for their departure from London, including their respective families, back to Liberia before the  January 8, 2018 deadline.

In international relations, a ‘persona non grata’ is a foreign person entering or remaining in a particular country who is prohibited from doing so by that country’s government. It is an extreme action a country can take against a foreign diplomat who has committed an offense but who is protected by diplomatic immunity from arrest or prosecution.

A veteran Liberian diplomat told the Daily Observer when contacted yesterday that though he is not an official government spokesman, he doubts if these two officials will be investigated or prosecuted by the government upon their return, although they should, he said.

“In such a case, when the receiving state, in this specific situation the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, takes such an extreme measure, it expects the sending state to prosecute the offending diplomatic officers in accordance with its own domestic legal procedure, but I cannot see that happening here,” he said

He indicated that Britain with its long history of diplomatic interaction and acclaimed intelligence network may be aware that these officers will not be disciplined by the Liberian government, and may be reassigned at some point in time.

“How I wish Foreign Affairs Minister Marjon Kamara will have their diplomatic passports confiscated along those of their family members immediately upon their arrival at Roberts Field, and have them referred to the appropriate agencies for thorough investigation for possible prosecution,” he said.

He added that if there should be an investigation, the team should be comprised of the Foreign Affairs and Justice ministries, NSA, CID, Interpol, and their lawyers.

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