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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Foreign Ministry’s Letters Confirm US Revoked Kemayah’s Visa

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By Festus Poquie

Foreign Minister Maxwell Kemayah note verbale to the United States Embassy in Monrovia and other internal Foreign Ministry memoranda confirmed his visa was actually revoked.

Days after he was stripped of the visa, Kemayah sent communication to the Embassy on September 18 explaining deputy foreign minister for administration Thelma Duncan Sawyer would represent him at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Though he created the impression that his absence at the UNGA was not in connection with the visa saga, the official he was naming as his designee has already left Liberia as member of the Liberian Delegation.

Deputy Minister Duncan Sawyer said in a memo that the Foreign Minister nominated her to attend the UN summit and that she was leaving Liberia on September 13 for the event.

Twenty-four hours after her departure, Kemayah said in a September 14 Foreign Ministry memo that he would join President George Weah at the UNGA for his address to the world body. It never happened. Kemayah was notably absence when the President delivered his address on Wednesday September 21. He learnt of his visa revocation in Accra, Ghana.

The Minister is still waiting in the United Kingdom after he was served notice of inadmissibility. He planned the London trip lacking diplomatic focus to explain his absence at the UN, a foreign Ministry source privy to the incident told the Oracle News Daily.

Neither he nor the Liberian government has commented on the matter nearly a week after being deemed eligible for US travel document on unspecified grounds. Embassy official said only Kemayah can speak on the matter since United States law categorized visa related issues as confidential.

In July 2014, the United States government revoked visas issued three top officials including then Associate Supreme Court Justice Kabineh J’aneh, Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe, and the late Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff. They were traveling with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the US.

The Johnson Sirleaf administration at the time said it made “proper representation” to the US embassy seeking clarification on why the visas of the senior government officials were revoked after they had left Liberia.

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