Afriland Bank, Surrender in US$5M Economic Sabotage Claims

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Days after Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice issued an arrest warrant against several individuals including the Senate Secretary, Nanborlor Singbeh and the Presidents of two commercial banks, Eco-Bank, Ltd and Afriland First Bank-Liberia, one of the banks, Afriland, on Wednesday, June 17, surrendered to the court.

They were indicted on June 2, 2020, by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County stationed at another court, the Criminal Court ‘A,’ of duping two Czech Republic brothers, Pavel and Martin Miloschewsky, who had transferred US$5,062,419.10 in both cash and equipment to the country through Singbeh for the establishment of MHM Eko-Liberia, a rock crushing company.

The Miloschewskys claimed to have transferred the money through both Ecobank-Liberia and Afriland First Bank, but the company was never established and the equipment was also sold by Singbeh and his co-defendants.

Their indictment grew from an investigative report conducted by the Liberia Anti- Corruption Commission (LACC) through the Attorney-In-Fact of two Czech Republic brothers, Pavel and Martin Miloschewsky, Hans Armstrong, a British national.

The bank’s decision to surrender came shortly after Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay changed the earlier arrest warrant against the banks to a writ of summoning because, under the law, a writ of arrest cannot be issued against a corporate entity.

The bank’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Leopold B. Mbumen, who was accompanied by the former Solicitor General, Cllr. Daku Mulbah, turned himself over to the court on Wednesday and was subsequently allowed to go back home, after Cllr. Mulbah secured a criminal appearance bond.
Details of the bond were not disclosed on Wednesday.

Besides Afriland First Bank, the court’s officers were also successful to have arrested a Czech National, Jan Holask, believed to have masterminded several withdrawals of the money out of the company’s alleged fraudulent accounts at both Ecobank and Afriland Bank.

Co-defendant Holask was later ordered released by Judge Gbeisay after hours of closed-door discussion with Holask’s lawyers, including the former vice-chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Augustine Toe.

Meanwhile, Ecobank-Liberia, the other banking institution implicated into the US$5 million accusation is yet to surrender to the jurisdiction of the court.

Other defendants yet to be arrested include George W. Wisner, former Executive Director/ Acting Chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC), Othello Z.B. Karr, Incentive Officer at the NIC, Ousman Fofana, General Manager of Standard Logistics, A. Sherman Longan, Barry F. Tequah, Gloria Cain, Sylvester Siapiah, Patrick Saah Siaphe, Patrick Siaphe, and Mulbah Kennedy.

Others also include; Karel Socher, Peter Pesek, Ales Sranmek all of whom are Czech nationals.
The indictment alleges that on August 13, 2013, Singbeh opened two corporate current accounts in favor of MHM Eko-Liberia, Inc, at EcoBank-Liberia Ltd and Afriland First Bank, again without the knowledge and consent of the majority shareholders, Pavel and Martin.

Singbeh allegedly named Ales Sranmek as chairman and director, and Karel Socher as director and secretary, with both Socher and Sranmek placing their signatures on the banks’ documents.
Initially, Singbeh was not a signatory to the new corporate accounts at both EcoBank and Afriland First Bank.

The document also claimed that no officials of the banks, EcoBank and Afriland First Bank signed the new corporate accounts.

The court records also claimed, Singbeh manipulated the opening of the account, indicating that Ales Sranmek and Karel Socher were physically present in Liberia when the two accounts were opened at both Eco-Bank Liberia Limited and Afriland First Bank.

On the contrary, the database travel records on Ales Sranmek showed that he (Sranmek) has never traveled to Liberia before and that only Karel Socher had come to Liberia on three occasions with entry-exit dates.

The three times Socher came to Liberia, according to the document were; January 3, 2018, to February 7, 2018, April 20, 2018 to May 25, 2018 and September 21, 2018, to October 5, 2018.

Therefore, the document claims that both Karel Socher and Ales Sranmek were not in the country (Liberia) as the time of the opening of the account by Singbeh at Ecobank and Afriland First Bank.
“Sranmek and Socher were not in Liberia when the December 11, 2013 resolution was reached by Singbeh and Gloria Caine,” the document alleges.

It also claims that Singbeh, in furtherance of his alleged criminal manipulation of the systems, opened two purported and or fraudulent accounts at EcoBank Liberia Limited and Afriland First Bank supposedly in the name of the company with both account numbers: EcoBank#005-101-472-277-820-1 and Afriland Bank account#020-121-980-103 , with co-defendant Karel Socher, as signatory ‘B’.

The record alleges that after opening the two accounts, Singbeh convinced the Miloschewsky’s brothers, who later deposited the US$2,495,109 and US$102,000 into the bogus and purported accounts.

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