Is Czech Republic Prepared to Extradite Ex-Consul General in US$5M Probe?

Mr. Singbeh (left) and Mr. Sochor (right) to face prosecution over the alleged US$5M scandal.

The possibility for the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to obtain an extradition request for the former consul general of the Czech-Republic to Liberia, Karel Sochor, to be extradited to the country, where he is expected to appear before the anti-graft entity to be questioned about the management of a Czech-Liberian Company, MHM EKO, a rock-crushing company, over the alleged disappearance of over US$5 million from the operation of the company, appears far from reality.

Sochor is the former managing director of the MHM EKO, when the money allegedly went missing from 2013 up to and including 2017; however, extraditing Sochor remains a major challenge, because there is no treaty between Liberia and the Czech-Republic.

The money was intended for the operation of the company, situated in Seeke Town, District#4 in Margibi County, according to a complaint filed on behalf of MHM Eko-Liberia. But according to Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, Sochor withdrew US$667,500 from the company’s account at the EcoBank-Liberia and US$85,000 also at the Afriland First Bank-Liberia, totaling US$753,000, in which funds Sockor withdrew and could not produce a rock that the company sold from 2013 up to and including 2017.

Meanwhile, the LACC has released names of persons of interest, that including Secretary of Senate J. Nanborlor Singbeh, former president and chairman of the company’s board of directors, who holds 30 percent of a total of 100 shares. The remaining 70 percent shares are split equally between two Czech Republic nationals, Pavel Miloschewsky and Martin Miloschewsky, holding 35 percent each.

Others to be summoned, according to an investigator of the LACC, are Ales Sramek, also a Czech-national and financial director/treasurer. Sramek was a former employee of the United Nations Mission of Liberia (UNMIL) and Gloria Caine as a secretary.

Cllr. Gongloe’s compliant also claimed that the management individually  withdrew money totaling US$2,495,109 from the company’s account at EcoBank-Liberia, and US$100,000 also at the Afriland First Bank-Liberia and US$3,000,000 in equipment and spare parts, some of which have been sold.

The LACC investigators have already summoned Hans Armstrong, a British national and the Attorney-In-Fact for the two Czech-investors for questioning about the alleged disappearance of the US$5 million out of the company’s coffer.

Armstrong was interrogated over the corruption scandal that could lead to criminal charges against the MHM-EKO former management team, the investigator said.

It can be recalled that Sochor’s company, Finance Investment and Development Corporation (FIDC) Inc., a registered Liberian company, earlier won a US$15.9 million case against the Government, the judgment from which the Supreme Court of Liberia later reversed.

The High Court also suspended then Solicitor General Wilkins Wight, who was Sochor’s lawyer, for a year before then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed him as solicitor general.

The court also suspended then retired Judge Emery Paye for a year for conniving with Cllr. Wright in the that judgment.

On February 4, 2003, Sochor and the Government of Liberia, through the then Liberia Mining Company (LIMINCO), entered into a sales agreement, which provided, inter alia, for the sale of iron ore weighed between 600,000 to 850,000 metric tons owned by LIMINCO and was piled up at the Port of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.


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