2 August 2012

Liberia: Reaction to Danish Journalist

Photo: New Democrat
Monrovia is abuzz with conversations of the Danish journalist controversy.

The Government of Liberia has learned, with grave consternation, of a film documentary in which Danish Journalist Mads Johan Brugger Cortzen presents himself as a Liberian diplomat with the title of Consul General and Ambassador-At-Large accredited to the Central African Republic (CAR). In the documentary, while stating his motive as going undercover to explore the nefarious world of blood diamonds and corruption in Africa, Mr. Cortzen admits that he fraudulently purchased a Liberian diplomatic position and passport for USD150, 000.00 through a network that allegedly advertises and unauthorizingly sells diplomatic positions of struggling countries, including Liberia, via the World Wide Web.

The Government of Liberia finds this action by Mr. Cortzen to not only be immoral but criminal and offensive to the government and people of Liberia.

Since its inception in 2006, the Government of Liberia, under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has waged a determined fight against corruption and has worked to clean up the blemished reputation of our foreign service during the years of Liberia’s civil conflict. Accordingly, in 2007, the Government felt compelled to suspend all Consuls General, especially those appointed during the long years of conflict, and painstakingly undertook a comprehensive review of the processes by which individuals were appointed to Liberia’s Honorary Consular Corps. This action was intended to purge the system of suspected and perceived lapses.

As such, all current Consuls General have been re-vetted and only those found to be of high moral repute, in good standing and supportive of Liberia’s developmental goals and aspirations were reconfirmed or appointed. The Liberian government has strived to pursue this course with diligence and scrupulousness.

Therefore, the Government is shocked that Mr. Cortzen, an admitted fraudster, could have breached this system; a system which until this incident involving Mr. Cortzen proved invaluable in returning our country to international repute and diplomatic acclaim.

Keenly aware that the misuse and abuse of Liberia’s recovering diplomatic image and titles could create unwarranted diplomatic incidents and undermine the ongoing national and international efforts at recovery and restoration, the Government of Liberia strongly condemns the fraudulent acquisition and abuse of Liberia’s recovering diplomatic image by Mr. Cortzen and his accomplices.

Even though Mr. Cortzen, by his own admission, fraudulently acquired Liberia’s diplomatic title and passport allegedly from an on-line service, by which he admits, at a minimum, to the commission of bribery under Liberian law, the Government has launched a full-scale investigation into how Mr. Cortzen breached the system for the issuance of Liberian diplomatic passports and conferral of titles, so as to expose this contriving web of high crimes against recovering countries like Liberia, and to bring all those responsible for this breach to justice nationally, as well as internationally.

Concomitantly, the Government of Liberia will institute legal action against Mr. Cortzen, and is seeking the appropriate explanations and redress from the governments of the Central African Republic and Denmark through diplomatic channels. At the same time, the Government of Liberia is seriously reviewing all appointments of honorary counsels, and shall immediately revoke the commission of anyone who is suspected of having acquired same under false pretenses.

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