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LIBERIA: DID MOJ CLEAR COMMISSIONER BAH-KENNETH OF AIRPORT VISA SCANDAL?

By Socrates S. Saywon – Asatu Bah-Kenneth, Liberia Immigration Service Deputy Commissioner for Naturalization who admitted signing 29 airport visas for some 120 Turkish nationals during a probe by LIS Special Investigation Penal, however, unpublish information gathered by Smart News Liberia the Ministry of Justice has investigated and cleared Madam Bah-Kenenth of the act.

MOJ investigation of Madam Bah-Kenneth was not public, however, Liberians are wondering how did the MOJ conduct the investigation of Madam Kenneth and subsequently clearing from the act when her entity (LIS) investigated her – and during the Penal probe she (Bah-Kenneth) admitted to signing 29 airsport visas for some of the Turkish nationals they told Smart News Liberia an interview couple of days ago…

It can be recalled, Madam Bah-Kenneth, according to the Penal, signed Airport Visas in favor of some of the Turkish Nationals but was done prior to the May 18th Circular while some were back-date; however, two Airport Visas were seen with her signature dated June 28, 2021, but she vehemently denied the signature to be that of hers.

And, therefore, the Penal she grossly violated May 18, 2021, Circular from the office of the Commissioner-General of Immigration instructing all Deputy Commissioners not to sign any visas as of said date until further notice aimed at fighting against the Covid-19.

Through the Penal probe also, it was established and confirmed that Bah-Kenneth, did sign some visas in favor of Bea Mountain and EPS Mining Company for these Turkish Nationals but the same was done prior to May 18, 2021, circular…

Howbeit, a copy of the LIS Special Investigation Penal report in the possession of Smart News indicated that, in furtherance to Turkish Nationals’ arrival, the LIS was concerned about most of the visas that brought them into the country. When they were profiled, it was established that the Bea Mountain Mining Corporation and EPS Mining Company located in Grand Cape Mount County were responsible for their entry and about forty-five (45) visas were signed by Hon. Abigail N. Wesseh, Deputy Commissioner General for Operations in contravention of the May 18, 2021 circular from the office of the Commissioner-General of Immigration instructing all Deputy Commissioners not to sign visas rather than him.

The following the Penal’s investigation, officers Stanley Perry – Chief of Visas, Victor Gborlee – Deputy Chief of Visas, Michael M.P. Hoff – Deputy Chief of Security, Joe Nyanti – Deputy Chief / LIS Detail Ministry of Labor and Samuel Mulbah – Chief of Logistics were considered of interest based on their involvement and interactions in regards to said documents.

Facts, Findings, and Observations

According to Penal, after careful analysis through different voluntary statements, questions and answers the Penal established the followings facts, findings, and Observations:

  1. That, it is confirmed and established that on the 30th day of June 2021 at about 2000hrs, a special chartered flight MNG Jet, Havecilik, A.S. landed at the Robert International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County with one Hundred and Twenty (120) passengers on board most of whom were Turkish Nationals being brought into the country by Bea Mountain Mining and ESP Mining Company, both of whom are located in Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia;
  2. That, it is alleged by Officer Michael M.P. Hoff, Deputy Chief of Security, LIS who is also an Executive for Bea Mountain contacted Hon. Abigail N. Wesseh, then Deputy Commissioner General of Immigration for Operations and she signed twenty-nine (29) visas; even though she could not be reached by the Penal;
  3. That, from analysis of the total number of airport visas in the possession of the Investigation Penal signed by Hon. Abigail N. Wesseh sum up to forty-five (45) pieces, which means that the twenty-nine (29) given by Officer Hoff plus sixteen (16) given by Officer Nyanti;
  4. That, it was also alleged by Officer Joe Nyanti, Deputy Chief/LIS Detail Ministry of Labor who is also an Expeditor for Bea Mountain and EPS Mining that he also contacted and took an unspecified number of Visas to both Hon. Abigail N. Wesseh and Hon. Asatu Bah Kenneth, Deputy Commissioner General for Operations and Naturalization, respectively for the signing of some unapproved visas, which they did;
  5. That, the total number of airport visas in the possession of the Investigating Penal signed by Hon. Asatu Bah Kenneth amount to thirty-one (31) pieces of which two (2) were served disclaimer by Hon. Bah Kenneth, which means that she (Hon. Bah Kenneth) admitted signing twenty-nine (29) pieces;
  6. That, the both Hon. Wesseh and Hon Kenneth grossly violated the May 18, 2021 circular from the office of the Commissioner-General of Immigration instructing all Deputy Commissioners not to sign any visas as of said date until further notice aimed at fighting against the Covid-19;
  7. That, it was established and confirmed that Hon. Asatu Bah Kenneth, Deputy Commissioner General for Naturalization did sign some visas in favor of Bea Mountain and EPS Mining Company for these Turkish Nationals but the same was done prior to May 18, 2021, circular; however, some of the visas signed by her on June 28, 2021, in which she stated that her signature was allegedly forged;
  8. That, Officer Michael M.P. Hoff and Joe Nyanti did not submit any letter of request for insurance of airport visas from the Management of Bea Mountain and EPS Mining Company which must be approved by the Commissioner-General of Immigration before processing;
  9. That, both Hon. Abigail N. Wesseh and Hon. Asatu Bah Kenneth who are superior respondents being fully cognizant of the procedures for obtaining visas elected and signed those visas without the knowledge of the Commissioner-General of Immigration;
  10. That, the Chief of Logistics did issue the visas to the Visas section upon requisition and approved of the Deputy Commissioner General for Administration which is the chain of command;
  11. That, up to the time of the composition of this report, the current regular Visa being issued by the Visas section has a balance of 111 copies in the 7000 series; the ones issued out does not correspond with the balance on hand;
  12. That, it is established and confirmed that most of the visas issued under investigation were criminally taken from the current batch which was signed for by Officer Stanley Perry, Chief of Visas Section from the Logistics Section of LIS on May 27, 2021;
  13. That, it is established and confirmed that since indeed these Regular Visa are paid for, same were not recorded in the ledger of the visas Section for dubious and malicious reasons;
  14. That, the visas coded No. 11114 LIS and No. 11466 LIS that were used by Hassan Turan, PP#: U15882598 and Sabah Seher, PP#: U22573097, respectively, both Turkish Nationals entered the Republic of Liberia on June 30, 2021, with expired visas which violated Section 5.90 of the Alien and Nationality Law under the caption “Illegal Entry”;
  15. That, it has been confirmed and further established in consonance with records from the Logistics Section where the Visas are in stock and signed for showed that the series of Airport visas ranging from 7001 to 7500 were supplied to the Visas Section on May 27, 2021;
  16. That, the Deputy Commissioner General for Naturalization, Hon. Asatu Bah Kenneth, admitted and affirmed verbally that she signed twelve (12) of the fourteen (14) Airport Visas with coding: 7344, 7345, 7347, 7348, 7349, 7350, 7351, 7401, 7402 which were signed on May 12, 2012, contrary to the records emanating from the Logistics Section which states that these visas were supplied on the 27th of May 2021; and,
  17. That, the Honorable Asatu Bah Kenneth also stated to Penal verbally that the following visas with series/ coding: 7379 and 7427 signed and dated June 28, 2021, which carried her signature were denied being signed by her despite they being in the same series in count#14;

The Penal’s Recommendations

Predicted upon according to the penal, the nature of this case, its submits the following to the Commissioner-General of the Liberia Immigration Service, Hon. Robert W. Budy awareness, information, and onward transmission to concerned authorities as indicated:

  1. That, since indeed Honorable Asatu Bah Kenneth stated that her signature was allegedly forged in two of the visas issued on June 28, 2021, to Bea Mountain in favor of (Hassan Turan, PP#: U15882598 and Sabah Seher, PP#: U22573097) respectively, the person (s) contacted to process these airport visas;
  2. That, Officers Micheal M. Hoff, Joe Nyanti, and Stanley Perry be temporarily relieved of their current positions in line with Section 22.127 counts (f), (g), and (h) of the Liberia Immigration Service Act of 2016 and turned over to the Professional Standard Division of the Liberia Immigration Service for further investigation as to their actions border around misconduct; and,
  3. That, the Managements of Bea Mountain Mining Corporation and EPS Mining Company, registered entities under the Laws of the Republic of Liberia be thoroughly investigated in connection with the airport visas procurement as well as the Illegal entries of two (2) of its guests in contravention of Section 5.12 and 5.90. It can be recalled, President George Manneh Weah suspended the Deputy Commissioner General for Operations at the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Abigail N. Wisseh. According to the Executive Mansion release, Madam Wisseh was suspended on Thursday, 1 July 2021 by the president for administrative reasons, and that her indefinite suspension takes immediate effect, with the Executive Mansion falling short to provide details regarding Madam Wisseh’s suspension…

Before the Investigative Panel was set up by LIS to conduct the investigation in the alleged airport visas signings by LIS’s officers, on the 30th of June, 2021, at the Robert International Airport a Special chartered flight named MNG Jet, Havecilik A.S. landed at 2000hrs. With hundred and twenty (120) passengers on board 120 passengers, most of whom were Turkish Nationals with only one person being a South African that raised serious concerns as Liberia was fighting and striving to contain the fourth wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, efforts to contact the communkication director at the Ministry of Justice to speak on the issue prove fruitless…

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