Monrovia — Henry Costa, the head of the Council of Patriots (COP) has accused the Government of Liberia of swapping the laissez-passer with which in entered Liberia on December 19, 2019 for a forged one which he believes the government is now using in incriminate him.
"The laissez-passer that was presented to me by the Liberia Immigration Service boss is false and it is not the same laissez-passer I presented to them on the airport when I came. They have the original," he said while speaking to reporters on Sunday.
According to him, he scheduled to travel on Friday, January 10, but was prevented by immigration officers who he claimed said they had received instruction not to allow him to leave the country.
Costa said he had previously received information that the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) had been instructed to seize his passport, therefore, he refused to hand over his passport to them at the RIA on Friday.
The LIS on Friday evening released a statement clarifying that immigration officers never stopped Costa from traveling, rather, Costa voluntarily delisted himself after checking in with SN Brussels and asked for his luggage to be deplaned.
"LIS says while it has received reports that Mr. Costa entered Liberia using forged travel documents, it did not arrest, stop nor accost him at the airport as he did not present himself to immigration officers," the LIS release stated.
Costa also vehemently denied forging the laissez-passer. "Liberians remain in the U.S. and prepare their passports here in Liberia, how much more a laissez-passer which is even a simpler document to obtain? My laissez-passer was prepared right in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If it was forged, why didn't they seize it upon my arrival. The Immigration officer checked it and allowed me to pass," he said.
Costa, a zealous critic of the George Weah-led administration, was invited to the headquarters of the Liberia Immigration Service over the weekend where he was asked to make a statement concerning how he obtained the laissez-passer to enter Liberia.
He told FrontPageAfrica on Saturday that the Immigration officers confirmed that the laissez-passer booklet is authentic and there was absolutely legal for him to have been out of the country and requested a laissez-passer. He said he was also informed that it is legal to own a passport and travel on laissez-passer.
However, according to him, he was informed that though the booklet is authentic, the signature and stamp on it were forged. Therefore, his assistance was needed for the investigation as to who issued the booklet.
"They asked me to make a statement and then my lawyer, Cllr. Findley Kangar to sign for me. What does that mean? I've made arrangements to leave travel tomorrow but they said I cannot leave until the Minister of Justice had reviewed the report," Costa told FrontPageAfrica.
Costa told reporters that he had to obtain the laissez-passer because he was using his passport to obtain a shenanigan visa to visit his son in Europe.
He challenged the government to sue him if they have any evidence to prove that he obtained the travel document fraudulently.