Vice President Boakai in Italy—Commends Italian Government

Sunday, 2nd March 2008
Monrovia, Liberia - The Vice President, the Honorable Joseph N. Boakai, has praised the Italian Government for its commitment to helping Liberia actively fight the proliferation of counterfeit Liberian Passports on the international market.  Speaking last night at a welcome reception hosted in his honor by the Mayors of Rome and Bibbona Cities, Vice President Boakai said that Government continues to receive frequent and regular reports that criminals around the world were using fake Liberian diplomatic and regular passports for sinister activities and were bringing the good name of Liberia into disrepute.  

A release from the Vice President’s Office quoted Hon. Boakai as saying that the Unity Party led government was reviewing and will soon adopt appropriate measures to ensure that Liberian passports had security features that are not easily duplicated.

The Italian government recently announced that it had arrested an Italian man and a few accomplices who were regularly printing Liberian passports in their homes and selling them on the internet and the international market.  The Italians also confiscated computers, printers and items the criminals were using for their dubious activities.   Honorable Boakai called on the Italian government to prosecute those apprehended and give them the maximum sentence allowed under the Italian law if found guilty.

Vice President Boakai is heading a 5-member delegation on a 6 day working visit to Paris, Rome, and Milan, Italy to attend an investment forum organized by the Liberian Foreign Missions near Paris and Rome.  His delegations includes Liberian Ambassador to Paris, McKinley Thomas and the Charge`d Affairs at the Embassy in Italy, Mrs. Musu Ruhle.

In another development, the Liberian Vice President has asked the Italian government to support Liberia’s reconstruction efforts by helping to strengthen the Liberian Economy through their investments in agriculture, fisheries, tourism, the extractive industries, and food processing.  He said Liberia had developed investor-friendly tax and other incentive codes to encourage foreign investments.  He said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was determined to improve the living condition of the Liberian people and to continue to champion the reconstruction of the Country.  

He recalled that prior to the war; the Italians had several investments in Liberia and were the major donors and supporters of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine at the University of Liberia.  He asked major institutions of Italy to grant scholarships and other study fellowships to help build the capacity of Liberian.  The Honorable Boakai was speaking last night when he attended a dinner hosted in his honor by Liberian diplomats in Italy.  The dinner was attended by an array of government official, business people and other citizens of Livorno, Italy.

Earlier, the Mayor of the Municipal of Bibbona, Mrs. Fiorella Marini, commended the Liberian Government for its development objectives and assured that the Italians will continue to remain friends of Liberia and encourage businessmen to invest in Liberia.

Meanwhile, VP Boakai is due to visit the Provincial and business cities of Milan and Genoa tomorrow where he is expected to hold talks with officials there and solicit help for Liberia’s reconstruction initiatives.