Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice has issued an Interpol arrest warrant against former Passport Director Andrew Wonplo and several others, who have been accused of selling Liberian Passports to foreign nationals.
Judge Blamo Dixon issued the red alert and directed the Liberia National Police (LNP) to implement it along with other countries to have the Wonploe and his accomplices extradited to the country to face justice.
Dixon did not make specific reference to any particular country to help into the extradition of Wonplo.
Wonplo’s whereabouts remain unknown after the government re-indicted him, prompting Judge Dixon to issue the Interpol arrest warrant.
The development comes after the US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, in a statement recently announced the public designation due to Wonplo’s “involvement in significant corruption”. “In his official capacity at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2018 to 2019, Mr. Wonplo was involved in passport fraud that undermined the rule of law, reduced the Liberian public’s faith in their government’s management of identification and travel documents, and compromised the integrity and security of immigration processes,” the Secretary of State then said, adding that the designation also includes Wonplo’s wife Dennice and their minor children.
But, the question remains whether the US government is willing to assist in the arrest and subsequent extradition of Wonplo as directed by Judge Dixon.
Reaffirming “U.S. commitment to standing with the people and government of Liberia in their fight against corruption,” Secretary Pompeo said, “The Department will continue to use these authorities to promote accountability for corrupt actors in this region and globally.”
In the wake of the US intervention in the country “Passport Scandal” the former Director of Passports and Visas Andrew Wonplo has implicated former Foreign Minister Gbezhongar Findley and President George M. Weah.
According to the new indictment, the fraud has deprived the Liberian government over US$30,000.
The original charges against Defendant Wonplo were previously dropped by then Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay of the Criminal Court ‘C’ after the government failed to prosecute the case for over 100 days as provided for by the law.
Gbeisay’s decision resulted when Wonplo’s lawyer cleverly took advantage of the government alleged unwillingness to forward up on the matter, after he was indcited.
But, the new indictment pointed out that from 2018-2019, Wonplo received 4,250 blank passports for signatures and legitimate issuance.
The indictment further stated that while in possession of the blank passports, defendant Wonplo allegedly conspired with Adedoyin Atiroko, Worjloh David Nippy, James Fallah, Johnson Anderson, Nmegatin Konneh and others to sell the passports.
The new indictment alleges that there was an email exchange between defendant Wonplo and others for the sale of the passports.
Other defendants, including Faruk Kamara, Rannie Binda, William Reeves, Anderson N. Mengatin, A. Konneh, and Marian S. Nimely, have all been charged with the commission Of Economic Sabotage, Theft of Property, Forgery and Criminal Conspiracy.
It can be recalled that the former Director Wonplo in his audio exposé, has been explaining events leading up the breaking of the news of the scandal. He is rejecting sole responsibility for the accusation against him of selling passports.
“So why are we here and want to play games around here as if to say we are not aware of what happening,” he asked in apparent reference to the fact that “higher ups” were in the know of the deal. “We have to be very factual. Call the Americans. Talk to them! You made an error. Minister Findley, you have to say something about this thing,” Wonplo charged.