–Magistrate Duncan tells Senate Secretary Singbeh
Days after Magistrate Victoria Worlobah Duncan of the Kakata Magisterial Court in Margibi County, described as insulting to the Judiciary Branch of the Government, the alleged refusal of the Senate President Protempore, Albert T. Chie, to turn the Senate Secretary General Nanborlor Singbeh to the court for prosecution, the magistrate on Friday, September 27, 2019 again issued a 72-hour ultimatum for Singbeh to find a ‘new’ lawyer to represent him in court, because his first lawyer is not qualified to practice law.
Pro Tempore Chie was to allow the Court Sheriff, and two other officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to arrest Singbeh and bring him to court for trial on charges of criminal conspiracy, misapplication of entrusted property and theft of property.
Magistrate Duncan also warned that if Singbeh does not find the lawyer within the given time frame, which expires on Wednesday, October 2, 2019, then she would be left with no other alternatives, but to order Singbeh’s immediate arrest and subsequent incarceration at the Kakata Central Prison.
Duncan’s action was in response to a request by lawyers of the investors, Martin and Pavel Miloschewsky, 70 percent majority owners of a Czech-owned company, MHM Eko-Liberia Incorporated, contending that Singbeh’s lawyer, Cllr. Wiefueh Sayeh, has not been licensed to practice law for 2019 by the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), of which Cllr. Sayeh is a member. Such, deliberate act by Sayeh, Magistrate Ducan said, disqualifies Sayeh from practicing before any court throughout the country.
At Friday’s hearing, Singbeh was nowhere around the court premises, but it was only his lawyer Cllr. Sayeh.
Singbeh’s arrest was based on accusation that he and several other senior members of the management team of the Czech-owned company, MHM Eko-Liberia Incorporated, illegally sold heavy duty earth-moving equipment (caterpillars) and heavy duty trucks worth about US$650,000.
That case was brought by the Attorney-In-Fact of the Czech brothers, Hans Armstrong, a British national, against Singbeh. Singbeh is the president and chairman of the board of directors and a 30% minority shareholder of the ] MHM Eko-Liberia.
In her ruling, Magistrate Duncan said she was convinced by the prosecution’s argument that Sayeh has not paid the LNBA’s yearly due of US$300 to renew his license.
The US$300, Duncan explained, enables every lawyer to obtain a license of “good standing” to be qualified to practice law before any country.
“Sayeh is not qualified to represent Singbeh in this case, because he lacks the moral integrity to do so on grounds that he has failed to pay the bar due since the second week in March 2019,” Duncan said.
Therefore, the Magistrate ruled: “Every legal pleading (documents), including the criminal appearance bond that was secured by the Sky Insurance to prevent Singbeh from being imprisoned as was filed by Cllr. Sayeh on behalf of Singbeh is disqualified.”
Immediately afterward, Magistrate Duncan warned Singbeh to go and find a ‘new’ lawyer in 72 hours’ time to represent him during the case trial, or else he would be arrested and imprisoned until he can comply with the court’s mandate.”
Magistrate Duncan clarified that her action is being backed by the General Rule prescribed by the Supreme Court to govern lawyers’ behavior of the legal profession, and their active participation to the LNBA’s activities.