Liberia: 'Expelled'

Liberia's Ministry of Foreign Affiars
28 November 2017

Two Liberian diplomats in the United Kingdom have been expelled from that country.

The two Liberian diplomats including Jay Napoleon Toquie, II and Chester Dweh Barh, Sr., who were declared "persona non grata" were informed of their status through a communication via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the U.K. Government.

"I am writing to formally inform you that Her Majesty's government, in accordance with Article 9(1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, has today, November 21, 2017, advised two members of your mission through writing that they are persona non grata with immediate effect from January 8, 2018," the letter said.

The letter, which is said to be written by Barry Nicholas of the Diplomatic Missions and Foreign Organizations Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, informs the Charge d' Affaires of the Liberian Embassy in London, Mr. Ibrahim Nyei, about the UK government's decision.

Families and all other dependents of the two expelled diplomats have been affected by the declaration and have also been notified of Her Majesty, the Queen's government decision.

Though the letter did not provide further details about the expulsion of the two Liberian diplomats, however, it cited Article 9(1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

"The receiving State may at any point in time without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable... "

It is not really known as to why the two Liberian diplomats have been expelled. However, diplomatic sources said the British Police have succeeded gathering several pieces of evidence linking the two staffs to alleged money laundering with some Europeans, fraud, and prostitution within the Liberian Embassy.

Mr. Toquie, II, was commissioned in 2007 by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the First Secretary and Consul of the Embassy of Liberia to Great Britain and Northern Ireland, while Mr. Barh serves as Counselor at the Embassy in London.

Their exempt status from immigration control will expire on January 18, 2018 when the declaration takes full effect, according to the letter.

This means Toquie and Barh would have to leave the United Kingdom before January 18 next year or get arrested and prosecuted under UK laws for whatever crime they are alleged to have committed.

In international relations, a persona non grata is a foreign person who's entering or remaining in a particular country is prohibited by that country's government.

Recently, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recalled Ambassador Mohammed Sheriff for comments he made about former President Charles Taylor on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

When contacted, Assistant Minister for Public Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, J. Wesley Washington said he could not speak on the matter because his Minister is out of the country.

He said the Minister is expected in the country in a day or two, at which time the Ministry will comment on the matter.

Asked whether the Ministry is aware that the two Liberian diplomats have been expelled from UK, Assistant Minister Washington said "I don't know whether my minister is aware or not... when she returns, I will find out and address the issue."

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