Ecobank Liberia Limited, one of two banking institutions charged by the government for their alleged role played in the misapplication of US$5,062,419.10, on Monday, June 22 surrendered to the jurisdiction of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, where the bank is expected to be tried on various charges that include economic sabotage.
The bank came under the court’s authority with a condition. 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 Senate Secretary Nanborlor Singbeh for the establishment of MHM Eko-Liberia, a rock crushing company. Singbeh, the indictment alleges, convinced the Miloschewsky brothers, who later transferred the amount US$2,495,109 to Singbeh’s bogus and purported accounts at the Ecobank, and US$102,000 to Afriland First Bank.
However, the bank in its conditional application, argued that the court should grant them leave to appear before it without filing a bail… on its personal recognizance, consistent with provision of the law.
In defense of their argument that is subject to challenge by the government, the bank further argued that it is a banking institution licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), and hence there is absolutely no possibility that it (bank)) is going to leave or attempt to leave the bailiwick of the Republic of Liberia. Accordingly, the bank said, there is no need for it to post an appearance bond because, “as Liberia largest bank and financial institution … our appearance at and during the case out of which this request grows is certain at all times.”
Therefore, the bank pleads “that even though it is not necessary, this Honorable Court may however, require the Central Bank of Liberia, which is the regulatory agency for the bank and other financial institutions operating within the Republic of Liberia, to ensure that until it (bank) is tried and at the conclusion of said trial, it (bank) is absolved of the charges contained in the indictment.” Ecobank added: “the bank shall at all times remain or have a presence in Liberia.”
The indictment against Ecobank 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. Other defendants 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. 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 accounts 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.