MONROVIA – The United States Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo has declared Andrew Wonplo, former Director of Passport at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who accused of selling Liberian Passports to foreign nationals, and his immediate family members (Wife and Children) ineligible for entry into the United States of America.
Secretary Pompeo made the announcement through a press statement today, September 10, 2020.
“Today, I am announcing the public designation of the former Director of Passport and Visas at the Liberian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrew Wonplo, due to his involvement in significant corruption,” the statement said. 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 statement said.
It can be recalled that Mr. Wonplo was charged with the crimes of economic sabotage, misapplication of entrusted property and tampering with public records on August 15, 2019.
According to the Press Statement issued by the United States Department of State, the public designation the public will affect Mr. Wonplo’s wife, Dennice Wonplo, and their minor children.
“This designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94). Under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States. The law also requires the Secretary of State to either publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members. In addition to Mr. Wonplo, I am announcing the public designation of his spouse, Dennice Wonplo, and their minor children.”
The United States government reaffirmed its commitment to the fight against corruption in Liberia.
“This designation reaffirms U.S. commitment to standing with the people and government of Liberia in their fight against corruption. The Department will continue to use these authorities to promote accountability for corrupt actors in this region and globally.”
Pundits believe this decision by the United States will serve as a deterrent to other would-be offenders.