— Magistrate Victoria Duncan
Magistrate Victoria Worlobah Duncan of the Kakata, Margibi County Magisterial Court, has described as “an insult to the Judiciary Branch of the Government,” the recent alleged refusal of the President Pro-Tempore, Senator Abert T. Chie, to allow court Sheriff and officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) arresting the Senate Secretary Nanborlor Singbeh.
The Court Sheriff, accompanied by two LNP officers, recently went to the Capitol Building to carry out the arrest of Singbeh as ordered by the City Court at the Temple of Justice, but were reportedly prevented by Senator Chie, in whose office Singbeh sought refuge.
Magistrate Duncan presides over the Kakata Magisterial Court, where Singbeh and several others of the senior management team of a Czech-owned company, MHM Eko-Liberia Incorporated, are accused of illegal sale of heavy duty earth-moving equipment (caterpillars) and heavy duty trucks worth about US$650,000.
On Thursday, September 19, 2019, Magistrate Duncan expressed displeasure over Senator Chie’s action at the contempt hearing of Singbeh and wondered about the relationship between the House of Senate and the Judiciary.
Singbeh, who was in court on Thursday with his lawyer, Wiefueh Sayeh, begged Magistrate Duncan to purge his imprisonment.
“What kind of marriage is this for another branch of government to interfere or obstruct the function of another branch of government that is performing its legitimate responsibility,” Magistrate Duncan asked. “It is indeed very saddening and deeply regrettable, the distressing and unfortunate action of Singbeh,” she said in court.
In the first place, Magistrate Ducan said, she felt insulted because, according to her, “the writ was a court proceeding intended for Singbeh to appear before me when Senator Chie reportedly reversed the order and disappointingly, to write on the back of his call card that he sent to me.”
Unfortunately, she said that the Sheriff returned with a call card from Senate Pro-Tempore Chie.
“Look, the Honorable President Pro-Tempore wrote on the back of the call card demanding that the sheriff should present it to me,” Duncan said.
The message on Senator Chie’s call card, dated September 12, 2019, which Duncan displayed in court, reads: “Your Honor, Victoria Worlobah Duncan, I confirm that the Secretary of the Senate has been served the writ and will appear.”
There is no date nor time that the Senator will turn Singbeh over to the court, Magistrate Duncan observed.
Chie’s action, Duncan said, is only intended to insinuate that the law favors certain personalities.
“The law does not favor anyone individual, whether black or white, and or Liberian or foreigners,” Duncan said in reaction to Chie’s interference.
“Senator Chie has brought the court under public disrepute and its credibility, which we have tried to restore over the past years, but this court felt insulted,” Magistrate Duncan said.
Meanwhile, Magistrate Duncan purged the contempt charge against Singbeh, and subsequently fined him US$200, contrary to the prosecution’s insistence that Singbeh be jailed.
Also, Thursday’s hearing saw the presence of some employees of the MHM Eko Company staging a protest in the Court against Singbeh for unpaid salaries.
The trucks and equipment under litigation were purchased and shipped by the 70 percent majority shareholders, Czech brothers Martin and Pavel Miloschewsky, but with an agreement of reimbursement when the company produced and sold crushed rocks, the court’s record claims.
Since 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.
Singbeh is the president and chairman of the board of directors of the MHM Eko-Liberia Inc, where he also holds a 30 percent share.
The case was brought by the Miloschewsky brothers through their Attorney-In-Fact, Hans Armstrong, a British national, against Singbeh.