The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Foreign Affairs Denies Passport Shortage

By Alex Yomah
Contrary to public outcry that there is passport shortage at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sylvester Pewee, has denied said report describing it as totally unfounded.Responding to this paper via mobile yesterday, Minister Pewee refuted reports that the government is overly charging its citizens for regular passports.
“It is untrue that passports are given out for US$350. The price for a regular passport remains at US$50 and US$100 for an expressed passport. If anyone says, he/she pays US$300 or more, that information is totally unfounded. That person cannot prove the said allegation,” Minister Pewee challenged.
“If they provide any proof for paying said amount probably that person gave his/her money to unscrupulous element(s) that are not linked to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he claimed.
According to the Minister, Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is issuing passports regularly contrast to allegations that no passport in town and further clarified that it is impossible for anyone to be charged US$75 or US$300 and more so to insinuate that said monies are being paid in the public at the Bureau of passport division pointing out that no one pays directly to the Ministry instead all funds intended for passports are paid to the Liberia Revenue Authority or through the banks system.
Recently, two Liberian ladies walked to this paper and expressed hurdles in obtaining their own country’s passport at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Liberian ladies who preferred not to be named said, “We want our President to know that big corruption is right under his feet particularly in Passport Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
One of the aggrieved ladies alleged that her quest to obtain passports is that she has won a foreign scholarship and needs her passport as the most significant document to prepare her for her travel to the United States of America.
According to her, she had to pay US$75 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs particularly in the Division of Passports with a promise that she would have obtained her passports within five working days; unfortunately it has been exactly one month and up to date, she is yet to receive it and regrettably her time to travel has elapsed.
“My ordeal is, I paid $75 for my passport and I got it within two days but was stolen down Waterside and most frustratingly on part, I needed to travel today by 7p.m.; I went back explaining my problem and I was told to pay $350 to get immediately. The price was huge yet I had no option but to ask my friends to assist due to the importance of my trip,” the other lady narrated.
Madam Josephine D. Davis who preferred to be named also claimed she had walked to the Ministry for two weeks including Monday and all she was told is that no books (passports) were at the Ministry currently.
“I was told by a friend who worked at the Ministry that the government owed those printing the passports therefore the process was halted. Government needs to be fair to its citizens. There is a serious passport shortage because the government is indebted those printing our passports,” she claimed.

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