Liberia: Afriland First Bank Sued for US$3.32M Damages
.... "The acts of the defendant bank wrong against the plaintiffs' monies. The conduct of the defendant bank was willful, intentional, and resolved to commit the wrong and did commit the wrong against the plaintiffs’ money in the magnitude of US$102k," the suit added.
A lawsuit of US$3.3 million has been filed against Afriland First Bank by two Czech investors who allege that the bank significantly aided Nanborlor Singbeh, a minority shareholder, in deceiving them of US$102k. The lawsuit asserts that the bank breached its own deposit policies and procedures.
“The bank as part of financial institution obligation was required to demand three signatures from the company officer as rightfully provided for in the account form entitled ‘Mandatories 1, 2 and 3’; howbeit, the bank deliberately ignored flattered and neglected to follow this cardinal requirement, thereby causing plaintiffs to incur this huge final loss, which entitled plaintiffs to damages,” the lawsuit filed by the two Czech Republic investors claims.
The Czechs alleged duper Singbeh, who has a minority share in MHM Eko Liberia Inc, a rock-crushing company, is also the Secretary of the Liberian Senate. In the lawsuit filed on March 21 before the Civil Law Court, the plaintiffs are seeking special damages of US$102k general damages of not less than US$300k, and punitive damages of not less than US$200k
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Martin and Pavel Miloschewsky by their Attorney-In-Fact and British national, Hans Armstrong, who resides in the country. The investors claimed that, on October 10, 2016, they were convinced by Singbeh to open an escrow account in the amount of US$50k at the bank.
The money, according to the civil suit, was intended to obtain a mining Class B license from the Ministry of Mines and Energy for the operation of a Czech Republic-owned rock crushing company, MHM Eko Liberia Inc.
The suit further claims that Singbeh constrained his majority partners, and they transferred the US$102k in the MHM Eko Liberia’s escrow account, at the defendant bank’s premises, based on the transfer information the bank submitted to the investors.
The alleged scammer and minority shareholder, Nanborlor Singbeh
Before that, the investors' lawyers wrote two separate communications to the defendant bank, requesting it to provide details particularly relating and arising from the US$102,000 transferred to it
The bank, in obedience to said request, submitted detailed transactional documents to the plaintiffs through their lawyers.
"Thorough review of the submitted documents reflected the following irregularities or inconsistencies," the lawsuit claims.
According to the suit, the bank submitted a copy of an amended articles of incorporation instead of the articles of incorporation, copies of passport of one Karel Sochor, who owns no share in the company, neither holds any legal authority (neither conferred and or inherent authority from any of the shareholders.
“Karel Sochor has no link or connection in any form and manner or legal authority from the majority shareholders,” the suit claims.
Besides, they noticed that the bank requested additional documentations, to include articles of incorporation, signature cards for three persons and notarized board resolution in order to open and maintain an account with the bank.
They claimed that the bank did not ensure that these standing banking policies and procedures were fully met, yet they opened the account with a signature of a non-shareholder Karel Sochor, who according to the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) that between 2013 and 2017 has no entry and exit records.
"Because of these abuses of standard operating procedure at the instances of the defendant bank led to a human ghost said to be in natural person of Karel Sochor to siphoned and or pillaged the hard earned money of the plaintiffs.
"These wrongful conduct perpetuated by a human ghost who has a pseudonym of Karel Sochor, were executed over an approved watchful eye of defendant management elected to give due consideration to these wrong that should have never occurred in any financial institution of good reputation.
"The acts of the defendant bank wrong against the plaintiffs' monies. The conduct of the defendant bank was willful, intentional, and resolved to commit the wrong and did commit the wrong against the plaintiffs’ money in the magnitude of US$102k,"the suit added.
"The conduct of the bank leading to the withdrawal of the money was not error or inadvertently, but rather the management must have maintained and preserved it standard and an abuse of standing standard policies must be occasioned by punishment to safeguard depositor money and inconsequence of reckless conduct of defendant bank an action of damages must be against said defendant bank.
They claimed that the bank committed an egregious error wherein its own application form shows that MHM Eko Liberia's referred account was opened and maintained by the bank. And, the bank as part of financial institution obligation was requires to demand three signatures from the company officer as rightfully provided for in the account form entitled "Mandatories 1, 2 and 3" howbeit, the defendant bank deliberately ignored flattered and neglected to follow this cardinal requirements and thereby causing plaintiffs to incur this huge final loss, which entitled plaintiffs to damages.