By Alva M. Wolokolie
Since her resignation as Acting City Mayor of Monrovia, Madam Mary Broh has reappeared in government with a supervision of handling all transactions at the passport bureau which is directly under the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Her resignation is a backdrop of a rigmarole concerning her alleged obstruction of justice at the Monrovia Central Prison on February 21, 2013, when the plenary of the House of Representatives ordered the incarceration of Superintendent Grace Kpaan.
During a tour yesterday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our reporter met the former Acting Mayor in the corridors of the passport bureau giving instruction at one of the windows which has an inscription “passport pickup time 11:00-4p.m.”.
When the INQUIRER decided to make an inquiry from Madam Broh as to whether she has been reappointed by the President to work in government once more, Madam Broh angrily responded to journalists saying; “go and ask the President and stop reporting negative stories and concentrate on development and positive news”.
To further hear from Madam Broh with additional questions, she told reporters that there are so many obstacles in getting passports, so the President has asked her to come and assist Liberians yearning to obtain passports.
The former City Mayor could not explain in detail her presence at the passport section but an Executive Mansion release issued late yesterday evening said President Sirleaf has called for corrective measures in the passport division and immediately ordered cook shops in the bureau of passport office shut down.
The release also said that upon hearing of a breakdown in the system of issuance of passports, with long lines and people once again paying others for processing their passports, an angry President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on Monday visited the Passport Division of the Ministry to see the glaring situation.
In the Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf cautioned the Director of the Passport Division, Mrs. Tennema Deline about the inefficiencies and of reverting to the old habits. She recalled that, under former Passport Director Mary Broh, it used to take only 48 hours to issue passports; now it takes weeks.
The President demanded immediate corrective actions to address the long lines of people waiting for passports, as well as the practice of applicants once again paying staff for service.
Continuing her surprise tour, the President stopped on the first floor of the Foreign Ministry, having been informed that some staff are operating cook shops on the premises, right down the hall from the cafeteria.
Accusing the staff of turning a government office into a restaurant, and of selling food when they were supposed to be working, the President summoned the Deputy Minister for Administration (DMA), Mrs. Una Thompson, and ordered her to shut down the operation. She also instructed the DMA to clean up the bottlenecks in the Passport Division, which appeared to be reverting to its old ways, and to identify particular officials who had accepted money for passports.
Reacting, Mrs. Thompson apologized and assured the President that it would not happen again. When told by the President that she had visited the Passport Division and that it had reverted to the old system of doing things, Mrs. Thompson said she would be assembling the legal team to address the concerns and clean up the problem.