Sierra Leone ‘cartel’ of government employees ran passport scam for US visas
Sierra Leone’s anti-corruption commission has announced several arrests in connection to a network providing fraudulent diplomatic passports for entry into the United States and elsewhere. In this group was the country’s former ambassador to the UN and several other foreign ministry and immigration department employees. The U.S. had restricted visas to the country due to its corrupt practices by the visa offices and the significant overstay rate of its nationals. “This passport cartel is a major reasons for (Sierra Leone’s high overstay rate)…people who obtain these illicit passports are not traveling with the intent of coming back. They say they’re going for a conference or visiting family and just stay,” said the anti-corruption commissioner. Similar problems have been found across the continent in recent years, with South Africa providing one example when it faced censures last year from countries due to its high rates of counterfeiting and fraudulently obtained documents.