The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has discovered a large-scale Visas, Passports and Scholarships Scam, whereby a network of fraudsters in Sierra Leone with networks in Key Countries with large Sierra Leonean diaspora such as UK, America, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Australia and Turkey etc. are impersonating the Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, Professor David John Francis in offering to sell passports, Visas and Scholarships.
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.
The Foreign Ministry will like to share with you an instance where a Sierra Leonean lady (name withheld) who is staying 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.
Fortunately, the lady reported the matter to the US police who organized an entrapment operation together with the Sierra Leone police and were able to arrest their lady partner in Sierra Leone who worked with these fraudsters. This arrested Criminal is now helping the CID with investigations.
The public is therefore warned that the Foreign Ministry does not offer Visas, Passports or sell scholarships. 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
The Foreign Minister has informed and presented evidences to the American 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.
It should be recalled that a senior OSD officer also criminally impersonated the Foreign Minister and defrauded one Mary Kelly USD $2,000 claiming to have been sent by the Foreign Minister was arrested on the 16th November, 2021.
Fortunately, the Inspector General of Police set up an investigation and the police officer faced disciplinary hearing and had been dismissed from the force. Currently, he is standing trial at Court No.1 and will face the full force of the law.