Martin Kollie Denied Passport? -Raises Alarm to Local, International Stakeholders

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A student activist, Martin K. N. Kollie says he doesn’t understand why he was being denied his passport, noting that his passport was not given to him on May 23rd and 24th as was assured him to collect his passport, but was instead reliably informed by an anonymous source that his passport was placed ‘on hold’ and taken to the office of Passport and Visas Director Mr. Andrew D. Wonploe, Sr. based on instructions from higher-ups.

In a letter of June 10, 2019, Kollie said about 3 weeks ago, specifically May 22, 2019, he applied as a Liberian citizen by birth to renew his passport by following all legal procedures and principles so required by Law under Article II – General Requirements for The Application of Liberian Passports of the Liberian Constitution. Besides, Kollie said instead of paying US$50 as Regular Passport Service Fee which takes up to a Week before receiving my passport, “I even paid US$100 as MFA-Expedited Passport Service Fee which should had actually guaranteed me receipt of my passport in 24 hours after legally completing all requirements including online application, verification, payment of passport fee, physical interview, biometric process (capturing of photo and finger print), etc.”

The student activist indicated that he was issued an official receipt with such basic information including Receipt No: 655842; BPS No: 229805; Tax Code: 142104-MFA; and Workstation Code: LRAMOFA, saying that on , adding that on the receipt, he was instructed to collect my renewed passport on May 22, 2019 by 4pm.

“I made every effort on this day to receive my passport but to no avail.  I returned on May 23rd and 24th to collect my passport and I was reliably informed by an anonymous source that my passport was placed ‘on hold’ and taken to the office of the Director of Passport and Visas based on instructions from higher-ups. I visited MFA for more than a week to obtain my passport but to no avail. No justifiable reason whatsoever has been given even up to now as to why my new passport is being ceased or withheld, even though my old passport which would had expired September 30, 2019 was cancelled on March 22, 2019,” Mr. Kollie said.

He intimated that authoritative sources closed to the  MFA, especially the Division of Passport and Visas that have dependably informed him that his new passport was ceased due to these reasons including, “My full and active participation as one of the leaders of the recent Save The State Protest under the Council of Patriots; My continuous criticism of the Weah-led administration as a student and youth activist who led the Bring Back Our Money Protest in September 2018; the government had thought that I was applying to renew my passport in order to create chaos/crisis on June 7 and escape,”

Kollie wondered, now June 7 is over and was peaceful, why haven’t he received his passport through efforts that have been made? He said he thought, to raise these legitimate concerns because his rights as a citizens are being threatened and violated by such course of action. “To deprive me of a passport ‘on purpose’ is an infringement of my fundamental rights and such precedent grossly violates these basic laws and statutes including Article 13 of The 1986 Constitution (Freedom of Movement), Article 1 and 2 of Liberia Passport Regulation (Right to obtain a Liberian Passport and 1973 Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia (Right as a Liberian Citizen by birth).

“It is important for me to also inform you that I have missed out on an International Conference in Accra, Ghana on June 10, 2019 due to my passport being unjustifiably withheld by your office even though I have met all requirements to obtaining it. Again, it seems like I would miss out on another regional program (youth conference) to be held this coming Friday in Yaoundé, Cameroon. This has even provoked me as a citizen to raise these pertinent concerns,” Mr. Martin said in a letter addressed to Passport and Visa Director, Mr. Mr. Andrew D. Wonploe, Sr.

Additionally, Kollie said it will interest someone to know that he was also denied a driver’s license on April 16, 2019 by the Ministry of Transport due to similar reason regarding his critical nature or position against the government. “And this continuous violation of my rights is becoming habitual. I don’t think it is a crime to objectively speak out against prevailing ills in our society, patriotically disagree with a ruling establishment, and fearlessly stand in defense of the Liberian people as an activist. In my opinion, I am being viciously and wrongfully targeted, repressed, harassed, victimized and denied my rights for reasons yet to be justified, he asserted.

Copy od Kollie’s communication was sent to is Lawyers, Cllr. Tiawan S. Gongloe, Cllr. Jallah A. Barbu (Dr.), Cllr. Samuel Kofi Woods and Cllr. Lavalla Supuwood; Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice and the Commissioner General of Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), as well as the US Embassy near Monrovia, United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS, European Union, British Embassy, Swedish Embassy and French Embassy, including  Liberian Council of Churches (LCC), National Muslim Council (NMC) and Traditional Council of Liberia (TCL)

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