Sierra Leone Foreign Affairs Ministry uncovers large-scale visa, and passports scam

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“A Sierra Leonean residing in the US was defrauded ABOUT USD $ 20,000 by the scammers”

By Alpha Kamara-TVS United States

Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said it has discovered a large-scale visas, passports and scholarships scam operating in the country. In a social media post, the ministry said it founded that a network of fraudsters in Sierra Leone with networks in key countries with large Sierra Leonean diaspora like the UK, US, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Australia and Turkey are impersonating the Foreign Affairs Minister Professor David John Francis by posing to sell passports, visas and scholarships to unsuspecting members of the public.

“The general public should note that these are 419 scams. Anyone who is approached with offer of scholarships, visas or passports deals MUST immediately report to the police. Any attempt made to pay any amount to them will be at your own detriment and you will not get the offer because this is a scam it’s not real,” the post said.

The ministry further shared an instance where someone was defrauded by a police officer on false pretenses.  “There is a case where a Sierra Leonean lady residing in the United States was defrauded USD $ 19,600 by these scammers who claimed to have been representing the Foreign Minister in selling Passports, visas and scholarships,” said the post.

Fortunately, the lady reported the matter to the US police who organized a trap operation together with the Sierra Leone police and were able to arrest their lady partner in Sierra Leone who is working with these fraudsters. This arrested criminal is now helping the CID with investigations,” The foreign affairs ministry further warned the public that the ministry does not offer visas, passports or sell scholarships to the public. Any individual who falls for such a scam is also corrupt, and will be blamed for whatever money he/she may have lost to those fraudsters, it stressed.  

The post said, the Foreign Minister has informed and presented evidence to the US Ambassador, the British High Commissioner and all diplomatic partners in Sierra Leone, alerting them to this new 419 visa, passport and scholarships scam. These missions are now on high alert and working with the Sierra Leone police to ensure culprits are brought to book.

The Ministry also revealed that a senior OSD officer also criminally impersonated the Foreign Minister and defrauded one Mary Kelly an amount of USD $2,000 claiming to have been sent by the minister for such purpose. He was arrested on the 16th November, 2021.

The Police set up an investigation and the police officer has been dismissed from the force. Currently, he is standing trial at Court No.1 in Freetown and will face the full force of the law, the statement stressed.

Sierra Leone Foreign Affairs Ministry uncovers large-scale visa, and passports scam
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