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Suspended Passport Boss Mr. Andrew Wonplo Sr. Suspended Passport Boss Mr. Andrew Wonplo Sr.

Suspended Passport Director Off The Hook

MONROVIA, LIBERIA - The Criminal Court “C” Judge at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia has dismissed all criminal charges against Andrew Wonplo Sr., the suspended Passport Director, who allegedly defrauded the Government of Liberia(GoL)of US$25,000 in the illegal sale of passports to non-Liberians.

Judge Yamie   Gbeisay’s decision to drop the charges against Wonplo and his associate came as a result of state lawyers’ failure to make substantial follow-up on the case.He said the facts that three terms ago there had been no attempt to pray the court for a single assignment for the hearing or trial of this case while the accused had not been proven guilty deprives from his job.

"In the mind of this court, it's wrong and that the object of the court is to correct a wrong whether done by individual or the Government of Liberia," the judge said.This action by the Judge followed after Wonplo’s legal team filed a motion on June 2, 2020 praying for the dismissal of the crimes of Economic Sabotage, Theft of Property, and Criminal Conspiracy.

The motion relying on Chapter 18, section 18.2 of the Criminal Procedure law; contends that since the indictment three terms of court have elapse without the prosecution proceedings with the case.The movant contended that the situation has deprived him of his livelihood to work and support his family and that the action of the state is in violation of Articles 21(f) of the 1986 constitution which requires speedy trial of an accused.

In resistance prosecution said the docket of the court is overcrowded with over 100 cases and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is also a good cost which the defendant has not been tried. It can be recalled that last year Wonplo and his- co-conspirator allegedly got involved in an illegal sales of Liberian passports to foreign nationals and were arrested on four counts.

According to the indictment, Wonplo defrauded the state with the amount of US$25,000 in revenue. The indictment further said Wonploe, while serving in his position, purposely knowingly, willfully and intentionally signed and issued several pieces of the passports to co-defendant Atiro.

“Wonploe and AdedoyinAtiro connived, conspired and colluded and, without any sense of remorse, began to sell the Liberian Passports to non-Liberians within and out of the country,” the indictment noted.

“The Special Grand Jury of Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia, upon oath, do hereby find more probably than not that Defendants Andrew Wonploe and AdedoyinAtiro committed the crime of theft of property and a felony of the second degree,” the indictment read.

Moreover, the government claimed that 17 booklets of birth certificates were illegally issued to individuals without any payment made to it.

 

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