10 August 2018

Liberia: Fake Travel Deal Entangles Pastor

Police in Monrovia have charged and sent to court a woman pastoring a church in Du-port Road, Paynesville after an alleged travel deal she initiated with some young Liberians for a purported trip to South Korea for a conference turned out to be a hoax.

The woman identified as Rev. Pamela Moore Mwanga, head of the Du-port Road based Family Federation for World Peace and Unification was escorted to the Monrovia City Court Thursday, 9 August by plain clothes police officers on charges of theft of property and forgery.

Her young Liberian victims in persons of Elton K. Baimor, John F. Mulbah, Juliet Capehart and Jusufu Jaward were said to have sustained financial losses in the tune of US$10,300.00 in the process of arranging the alleged fake trip to South Korea for a church conference.

Police say the four Liberian victims were issued one - way travel tickets by Leno Travel Agency owned by one Jackie Koffa for the alleged trip, but they were stopped from entering the country and instead deported to Liberia subsequently.

Police have found that non - citizens of South Korea travelling to that country are subjected to VISA upon arrival except where some diplomatic rights or other entitlements are decided by the South Korean governments.

But in 2016 and 2017 respectively, police say defendant Rev. Mwanga "under a sinister motive" was allegedly able to convince victims Baimor, Mulbah, Capehart and Jaward that her church was sending them to an expected church conference due in Cheeongpyeong by the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification based in South Korea.

The Liberia National Police (LNP) Special Investigation Unit (SIU) says in a charge sheet dated 6 August that in April this year, it received a complaint from the victims' lawyer Cllr. T. Dempster Brown surrounding claims of being duped by Rev. Mwanga.

The police say Cllr. Brown alleges that his clients sustained a financial loss of US$10,300.00 "through a fake travel scheme from Liberia to South Korea" organized by Rev. Mwanga.

In addition to Cllr. Brown's account, police say they obtained statements from victims Barmor, Mulbah, Capehart and Jaward and also requested them to submit documents to support their allegations against Rev. Mwanga.

In furtherance of the investigation, police say they established that Leno Travel Agency owned by Jackie Koffa was the travel agency that issued a one way travel tickets to the four victims for the South Korea church conference trip.

Police say the victims were stopped from entering South Korea and subsequently deported.

The investigators indicate that they invited the travel agency's owner Jackie Koffa to establish if the victims did pay for round trip tickets instead of one way tickets.

But police say Jackie did not honor their invitation to provide clarity despite several phone calls to her number.

Through their investigation, the police said it was established that the Liberian based Family Federation for World Peace and Unification headed by Rev. Mwanga at times receives invitations from the South Korean - based branch in Cheeongpyeong, South Korea to have Liberian youth join others in that country for church conferences.

According to police, Rev. Mwanga has used this program to send some Liberians to South Korea for church conferences, but often some of them would hide and remain there.

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