Edwin V. Barclay, the man who was reported to be on the run because he was a ‘fake’ customs broker has denied the claim, and has threatened legal action against his accuser, the chief executive officer of the NEW VISION Media Publishing Network and African Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies, Josephus M. Gray.
Mr. Barclay told the Daily Observer in an interview yesterday that contrary to the allegation, he did not dupe Mr. Gray of US$800 and neither did he dupe unidentified “individuals more than US$9,000 and other valuables pretending to be a member of the Customs Brokers Association of Liberia.”
He also refuted the claim that he is wanted by the Liberia National Police (LNP), because of his involvement in forgery and impersonation, as alleged in the reports published widely in the media on December 13, allegations that he forged land deeds by falsifying signatures of officials of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy; and that he is involved with criminal gangs.
“I am talking to my lawyer to seek legal redress from Mr. Gray,” he said about the man who claimed that Barclay allegedly duped him.
Barclay told this newspaper that Mr. Gray was recommended to him by a man identified only as ‘Gbarlee’ to help him release his 2003 Citroen imported from Paris, France, from the Freeport of Monrovia.
“I charged Mr. Gray US$50, but he told me he could get me US$20 to start the process and a day later he gave me the remaining US$30,” Barclay said. “Also the cost for the Delivery Order that gives authorization of ownership is US$175 and Mr. Gray further gave it to me and I used it to complete the Delivery Order and brought him receipts.”
Barclay said he did not receive any additional money from Mr. Gray as he alleged; and after nearly three weeks of interaction, he was shocked to learn that Mr. Gray had claimed that he was on the run from justice and that he was involved in illegal activities and defrauding people.
“It is a complete lie,” Barclay said, “I turned over every document to him when he told me that he did not want to use my services anymore.”
Barclay said when he heard the news he consulted his lawyer who held a conference with him to ascertain what he knows about the allegations. “I told my lawyer that the only money I received from Mr. Gray was the US$50 and the US$175 that I used to process his documents for the delivery of his vehicle,” he said.
He said though he is yet to face justice in a competent court of law, information provided by Mr. Gray to the media has ruined him and he would seek redress in court to reclaim his honor.
Barclay said because of the media reports, his clients have withdrawn contracts because “they are convinced that I am a criminal because of what Mr. Gray released to the media.”
In a telephone conversation with Mr. Gray yesterday, he insisted that the report against Barclay is true but admitted he has no receipts of the US$800 he claimed Barclay took from him.
Mr. Gray meanwhile recommended that the Daily Observer invite him to a conference with Mr. Barclay, possibly today, that he promised to attend.
In a letter, Barclay expressed displeasure with the report published in the Daily Observer, saying that he, along with his family, is embarrassed by the report and that the only redress to reclaim his honor is to seek legal action against Mr. Gray.