Between 2007 and April 2018, the Immigration Department issued a total of 1,179 Diplomatic Passports.
The 1998 Cabinet Conclusion states that the “Under mentioned categories of persons and their spouses are eligible to hold Diplomatic Passports:-
- The Head of State
- The Vice President
- The Speaker of Parliament
- The Chief Justice
- All Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers
- All representatives of Sierra Leone viz, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Diplomatic Staff including Special Envoys in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961”.
In 2007, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma extended the issuance of Diplomatic Passports to Members of Parliament.
A leaked internal memo seen by the Global Times last night shows that the Immigration Department issued 93 Diplomatic Passports with no requisite approval.
Also, 35 Diplomatic Passports were issued to heads of MDAs and Board members who did not fall under the approved categories of persons entitled to carry Diplomatic Passports.
The internal memo also shows that 23 individuals were issued dual/multiple Diplomatic Passports.
Over and beyond that, 41 Diplomatic Passports were not included amongst the active Passports issued between the period 2012 and 2018. These Passports still remain unaccounted for.
State House sources confirmed that, the order to undertake a verification of the issuance of 1,179 Diplomatic Passports came from the Office of the President.
It has been confirmed that all those who received Diplomatic Passports but were not entitled to them will be prosecuted by the government.