— Amb. Barnes says on alleged campaign funding by Czech Company
The bitter feud between secretary of the Senate, J. Nanborlor Singbeh, and his 70 percent majority shareholders and investors, Czech brothers Martin and Pavel Miloschewsky, has taken a dramatic turn with the Czech brothers admitting to a donation of over US$3,500 toward Ambassador Nathaniel Barnes’s bid to replace Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, as standard bearer of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2016.
Singbeh is the president and chairman of the board of directors of a Czech Republic owned company, MHM Eko-Liberia Incorporated, a rock crushing company in the country, where he also holds a 30 percent share, and is being accused of mismanaging over US$5 million from the coffer of the entity.
The Czech’s investors are claiming that with the establishment of MHM Eko-Liberia Inc. in Seeke-Ta, Weala, Township, Margibi County in 2013 up to present, Singbeh has not produced or sold a single truckload of crushed rocks, of which they have invested the over US$5 million.
However, in a leaked document dated October 24, 2016, entitled: “Minutes of Meeting” that contained in a shareholders’ discussion in the Czech Republic, a copy of which is with the Daily Observer, where the Czech brothers, among other things, claimed that Singbeh encouraged them to make donation in the amount of over US$3,500 for Barnes’ campaign.
The document claimed that Singbeh during the meeting, explained to his partners that Barnes is a long time suppliers for MHM Eko-Liberia, and he personally with his advice, contributed to development of the company, as such, they should donate to the Barnes’ campaign.
“It was when the shareholders agreed to make a donation of over US$3,500 for Barnes campaign, while Singbeh demanded an immediate payment,” the document alleged.
When contacted via mobile phone, Ambassador Barnes denied collecting campaign donation from Singbeh and his investors, the Czech brothers in 2016, though he admitted to having had a cordial working relationship with the MHM Eko-Liberia and Singbeh, where he provided business consultancy for a number of years.
“I served as consultant to the company, and I was paid for the work that I performed; at no time did I ever receive money from Singbeh, as donation toward my campaign. That information is not true, but misleading,” Amb. Barnes said.
He said it has been “many years now” since he parted company with the MHM Eko.
In the NPP standard bearer elections, then Senator Jewel Taylor claimed 332 (79%) out of the total 417 votes cast from 12 counties, while Ambassador Barnes, former ambassador of Liberia to the United States, won 71 votes (17%). Another contender, Reverend Hannaniah Zoe, earned just 14 votes (3%).
Also, when this reporter went to the Capitol Building Office of Singbeh for his response, Singbeh could not be found. However, one Mrs. Chea, who introduced herself as Singbeh’s chief of office staff, informed the reporter that Singbeh had advised her not to allow any journalist to his office in regard to the MHM Eko-Liberia situation.
“The chief advised us that if any journalist comes here to see him about the MHM Eko-Liberia issue, we should tell that person that the matter is in court, and he is not prepared to make any comment on it,” Mrs. Chea quoted the instruction given her by Singbeh.
The “minutes of meeting” document also revealed that at the meeting, Singbeh mentioned that it would be appropriate to prepare some gifts for former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, especially if Singbeh will arrange with her.
“Singbeh suggested some crystal products with engraved names of founders of the country,” the document quoted Singbeh.
During the meeting, it was gathered that the investors asked Singbeh to provide more details about what exactly the gifts should be because, his partners, shareholders and investors have no experience with “presidential gifts,” which the investors donated toward the purported Sirleaf’s gifts.
Again, during the meeting, Singbeh reportedly demanded his investors to make available US$10,000 to open an escrow account at any bank in Liberia for a Class ‘B’ license holder to serve as a guarantor during the operation of said company.
Justifying the US$10,000 during the meeting in the Czech Republic, Singbeh said although the yearly fee of US$10,000 had been paid, the license was still upheld [until] at such time, the guarantee amount can be deposited in the company’s escrow account.
At that meeting, Singbeh briefed his investors that since the operation of the quarry was about to start, it was important that the amount be deposited upon his return to Liberia so that the upheld license would be released to avoid future embarrassment to MHM Eko-Liberia.
“This, without reservation, was agreed upon to be undertaken, and Singbeh opened the account at the Afriland First Bank,” the documents claimed.