Aggrieved workers at a Czech majority owned company, MHM Eko-Liberia, a legally registered company that deals in crushed rocks, has petitioned the Debt Court at the Temple of Justice to compel Nanborlor F. Singbeh, the company’s president and chairman of the board of directors, to pay their just salaries and benefits for 15 months in the amount of US$82,560.
Singbeh, also secretary of the senate, jointly owned the company with two Czech Republic nationals, Pavel Miloschewsky and Martin Miloschewsky, who hold 35 percent each, while Singbeh is a 30-percent shareholder.
Through their lawyer, Jimmy Saah Bombo, the workers filed the lawsuit against Singbeh on April 22, 2019, accusing him for “breaching the terms and conditions of the contractual agreement entered between the parties in 2013. Singbeh is the company only representative in the country.
“In Seekie Town, Margibi County District #4 in 2013, the parties entered into a contractual agreement where the workers were to work for nine hours and above, which the company reportedly agreed to pay them their overtime in accordance with the labor law of Liberia,” the lawsuit claimed.
Bombo’s suit continues, “in April, 2017, the employees received the last salary, and since then, Singbeh had refused to pay them from May, and including the filing of the lawsuit; Singbeh has remained indebted to the workers.”
In trying to resolve the matter outside of the court, Cllr. Bombo claimed that his office wrote a letter, inviting Singbeh on April 17, through his lawyer to attend a conference on April 20, 2019 at their offices in Zayzay Community, Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
“But defendant Singbeh has failed to honor the invitation, a situation that gives rise o the lawsuit,” Cllr. Bombo added.
“Award the workers statutory interest per annual on the entire judgment commencing as of the date the defendant was indebted to the employees; and up to the settlement of the judgment, and award them 2 percent successful attorney fees as provided for by law,” the lawsuit declared.
In the suit, the lawyer requested the court to rule “all the costs of these proceedings against defendant Singbeh, and grant unto the workers any other, and further relief, which the court may deem legal, just and equitable.”
However, the Czech’s brothers had left the country on accusation that Singbeh misappropriated more than US$1 million, as well as several trucks, machines and equipment valued over US$1,500,000, and which the company’s majority shareholders had invested in its operations.
That matter is pending before the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice, after the Czech brothers, the majority shareholders through their then lawyer, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean (now Minister of Justice) on October 18, 2017, instituted a lawsuit for “Derivative Suit for Audit and Accounting, and to turn-over the Affairs of the Corporation and Corporate Assets to the new management against defendant Singbeh.”
He has denied the allegation as well as refused the majority shareholders appointed representative, Hans Armstrong, a British national.
It can be recalled that on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, the aggrieved employees, about 50 in number, staged a mini demonstration at the crowded entrance of the capitol building offices in demand of their alleged unpaid salaries.
The protesters were claiming from Singbeh their 15 months unpaid salaries to the tone of US$US$82,560. At the protest, the aggrieved employees submitted two separate communications to Senate Pro-Tempore Albert T. Chie, and Senator Oscar A. Cooper of Margibi County, calling on them to intervene by prevailing on Singbeh to pay their just benefits.
Up to present, however, the lawmakers are yet to respond to the communications. The April 2, 2019 protest was also joined by Mrs. Gartee G. Lorwoe, who claimed that Singbeh was indebted to her in the amount of US$20,000 as final payment of her five years ‘land rental fees.’
Mrs. Lorwoe by then alleged that since 2013 when her late, husband James Lorwoe, was alive, Singbeh, serving as liaison for the company, paid US$5,000 to him as initial payment. Since 2013, according to Mrs. Lorwoe, Mr. Singbeh has not paid any other money to the family.
Mrs. Lorwoe alleged that the Mr. Singbeh, acting as liaison between the family and the Corporation, told the family that the management of the Corporation agreed to pay the amount of US$5,000 annually to the late Lorwoe.
Since his death, she said, Singbeh and the Corporation have reneged to implement the lease agreement that put her land rental debt to US$20,000 of which Singbeh has refused to settle.