By Solomon T. Gaye Sr.
Massive corruption is said to be lingering among members of the joint security team at the main border between Guinea and Liberia in Ganta.
According to reports gathered, accusing fingers are being pointed at officials of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS).
The allegation is raising serious concerns among the government workers at that border point but speaking to this paper in Ganta, officers of the joint security are squarely blaming the officials of the LIS whom according to them are issuing vehicle permits without reporting the fees to the Revenue Authority in the county.
“We, the joint security and workers assigned at Ganta main border do not know the actual amount that the LIS collects as fees for vehicles permit because the monies are not going in government’s revenue but are pocketed by few individuals within the joint security,” the informants alleged.
Since the opening of the main border in February 2021, the issuance of vehicle permits are the responsibility of the LIS while another issue of concern surrounding the LIS is the reappearance of former LIS Public Relation Officer, Capt. Samuel Buomie at that border.
Our source from within the joint security explained that Capt. Buomie was relieved of his post from the Ganta border by the Immigration Commissioner in 2020 and later reassigned to Bomi County but has resurfaced at the border in Ganta without any communication of reassignment.
A police assigned at the border added that the permit fees vary according to the types of vehicles ranging from US$ 10 upwards but, he has no knowledge whether or not these fees are deposited to the rightful Authority.
The joint security in that part of the county is supervised by the LIS Commander but with specific responsibilities and they are to monitor, supervise people’s movements and the daily operations at that border point.
A vehicle permit, a copy which is in the procession of this paper, was dated on March 25, 2021, signed by the LIS local authority and issued to Moctar Tailo, a Liberian to freely travel with his five-seated 2012 Mercedes Bem-C280 Cedau to N’Zerekore, the Republic of Guinea bearing serial number WDBHA28E3VF562702 and plate # A3208 is being allowed to pass through that border point without any forms of security harassment and intimidations.
When this paper contacted the Ministry of Transport Sub office on the Guinea Road in Ganta, the Regional Coordinator, Alex Sayon Nyanplu, frowned at the LIS on the issuance of vehicle permits which according to him does not fall within its scope of its operations as well as using the monies collected from the exercise for their personal use.
Regional Coordinator Nyanplu added that several copies of the vehicle passes issued by the LIS to drivers leaving Liberia to Guinea are on file and that the information is already before the Ministry of Transport (MOT) central office.
When the LIS Commander, Maj. William Budy, was contacted via mobile phone, he confirmed issuing vehicle permits on grounds that as chairperson on the joint security, it is the LIS responsibility to provide security for all travelers passing through the Liberian borders with any other country most especially when they are onboard vehicles with documents from their embassies.
However, Maj. Budy could neither deny nor confirm the accusation of joint security Immigration officials pocketing vehicle permit fees.