… over US$5M economic sabotage charge
Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice on Friday, June 12 issued an arrest warrant for Senate Secretary, Nanborlor Singbeh and the Presidents of two commercial banks, Ecobank Liberia Ltd and Afriland First Bank-Liberia, in connection to the alleged duping of two Czech Republic investors, Pavel and Martin Miloschewsky of US$5,062,419.10.
Others ordered arrested include George W. Wisner, former executive director/ acting chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC), Othello Z.B. Karr, incentive officer at the NIC, Ousman Fofana, general manager of Standard Logistics, A Sherman Longan, Barry F. Tequah, Gloria Cain, Sylvester Siapiah, Patrick Saah Siaphe, and Mulbah Kennedy.
Others also include; Karel Socher, Peter Pesek, Jan Holask, Ales Sranmek all of whom are Czech nationals.
The court officers, according to Gbeisay’s directive, will on Monday, June 15, begin vigorous search and arrest exercise for all of the defendants.
A spokesperson for Ecobank Liberia told the Daily Observer that the bank’s legal department was preparing the bond in favor of their managing director. However, a spokesperson for Afriland First Bank said it was not to his knowledge that the bank had received any communication about the expected arrest of their top official.
Calls and a text message placed by the Observer to Mr. Singbeh went unanswered up to the final editing of this story.
Judge Gbeisay’s mandate was as a result of an indictment dated June 2, 2020, drawn by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County stationed at another court, the Criminal Court ‘A.’ It (indictment) grew from an investigative report conducted by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) through the Attorney-In-Fact of the Miloschewsky brothers, Hans Armstrong, a British national.
Charges contained in the indictment are economic sabotage, theft of property, forgery and criminal conspiracy, according to the LACC.
The first charge: Economic Sabotage
The state prosecutors allege that between June 2013 and July 2019, the Czech Republic investors, Pavel and Martin, who are owners of MHM Eko-Czech Republic, an investment company doing business in the Czech Republic, decided to establish a sister company named and styled, “MHM Eko-Liberia Inc.” to engage in the ventures of the production of crushed rocks in the Republic of Liberia.
Later, the Miloschewsky brothers got in contact with Karel Socher, who linked them to co-defendant Singbeh while in the employ of the government of Liberia and in his capacity and or position as Secretary of the Liberian Senate.
The Miloschewsky brothers awarded a thirty (30) percent share to Singbeh, while the two Czech nationals retained thirty-five (35) percent share each totaling seventy (70) percent share in the entity.
Afterward, the records claim, Singbeh used his official position as Senate Secretary to conspire with co-defendants Gloria Caine, former Minister Wisner, Othello Z.B. Karr and Prince A. Saysay and, with the help of Wisner and Karr, obtained for the company faked and fraudulent investment incentives for duty free privileges.
According to the records, MHM Eko-Liberia, Inc. was established purposely to engage in crushed rocks and related businesses with the capital investment of US$7,616,152, but the defendants allegedly created the opportunity to defraud the government of lawful revenue generated from its duty free privileges.
Initially, on December 12, 2016, MHM Eko-Liberia obtained a duty free application form with number #10035228 that gave Singbeh an absolute 100 percent duty free entitlement issued to him by the National Investment Commission (NIC).
The company used the 100 percent duty free entitlement to ship some equipment that include 1 unit (Hitachi ZW 310 wheel load Chassis) and two power Screen Premier Trak, of which they were to pay the amount of US$842,669.26 into the government coffers as tax.
Unfortunately, the document alleges, as a result of their duty free scam with co-defendants, Wisner and Karr awarded the amount of US$16,853.39 as payable, but instead MHM Eko-Liberia paid the amount of US$8,261, “thereby cheating the government in the total amount of US$8,592.39.”
Through their scandalous crimes, the court document claims, Singbeh collided with co-defendant Barry Tequah, a purported former employee of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and they faked the signature of Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) Vice President for Strategy, Mr. Elvis G. Morris, under the subterfuge of GVL ‘s duty free privileges to clear ten (10) Howo Sino Dump trucks and three (3) AXLE FLATBED consigned to Standard Logistics by using the faked duty free incentives on behalf of MHM Eko-Liberia Inc, “thereby causing the government to lose lawful revenue in the amount of US$382,000.”
The record alleges that under the Revenue Code of Liberia as Amended by the Consolidated Tax Amendment Act, October 15, 2011, crushed rocks (quarrying) is excluded from tax incentives as provided for in the Revenue Code amended in October 2011.
The second count Theft of Property
The record also alleges that Singbeh, with criminal mind and deceptive intent to commit crime, opened two bogus accounts in the name of MHM Eko-Liberia, at both Ecobank Liberia Limited and Afriland First Bank.
Thereafter, the document alleges, Singbeh conspired and colluded with co-defendants Karel Socher, Ales Sranmek, Peter Pesek, Jan Holaseh, Gloria Caine by convincing the Czech Republic investors, Martin and Pavel, when they unknowingly transferred the amount of US$2,495,109 and US$102,000 respectively, which was intended to pay custom duties on equipment imported, as well as pay salaries of employees and other operating costs.
The court record indicates: “That on July 12, 2019, Gongloe Associates Incoporated, under the signature of Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, wrote on behalf of the Pavel and Martin by and thru their Attorney-In-Fact, Has Armstrong, a British national, to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), by and thru its then officer-in-charge, Charles J.L Gibson, requesting the said entity to conduct a comprehensive audit and or an investigation into allege stealing of its client’s money that was wired to Liberia for the clearances of earth moving equipment, payment of employees and the running of MHM Eko-Liberia, Inc.”
“That the total value of properties including cash and equipment stolen directly from the private prosecutors by codefendants Singbeh, Sherman Longan, Karel Sochor, Jan Holaseh, Ales Sramer, Peter Pesek, Gloria Caine, Prince Saysay and others to be identified, is estimated at about US$5,062,419.10.”
Third Count Forgery
The court record claims that without the knowledge and consent of the majority shareholders (Pavel and Martin), on December 11, 2013, co-defendant Singbeh, 30 percent shareholder, named himself as President of MHM Eko-Liberia Inc, Karel Socher as Managing Director, Ales Sranmek, as Financial Director/ Treasurer, and Gloria Caine as Secretary.
The document further alleges that the co-defendant established himself as well as Karel Socher and Ales Sranmek as signatories to the accounts of MHM Eko-Liberia, Inc.
“These changes were made by a resolution, signed by Gloria Caine as Secretary and Singbeh as President and chairman of the Board of Directors, and was subsequently notarized by the Abraham V. Nifor, Notary Public,” the court record claims.
Also, the document alleges that on December 11, 2013, the by-laws of MHM Eko-Liberia Inc was done and signed by Gloria Caine as Secretary, and Singbeh as President of the company.
They allegedly acted without the knowledge and consent of the Czech Republic brothers’ contacted S. Peter Doe-Kpar, who later notarized the by-laws according to the document.
The record claims that prior to setting-up the leadership structure and signature powers of the company, on August 13, 2013, Singbeh opened two corporate current accounts in favor of MHM Eko-Liberia Inc. at Ecobank-Liberia Ltd and Afriland First Bank, again without the knowledge and consent of the majority shareholders, Pavel and Martin.
Singbeh allegedly named Ales Sranmek as chairman and director, and Karel Socher as director and secretary, with both Socher and Sranmek placing their signatures on the banks’ documents.
Initially, Singbeh was not a signatory to the new corporate accounts at both Ecobank and Afriland First Bank.
The document also claims that no officials of the banks, Ecobank and Afriland First Bank, signed the new corporate accounts.
The court record also claims that Singbeh manipulated the opening of the account, indicating that Ales Sranmek and Karel Socher were physically present in Liberia when the two accounts were opened at both Ecobank Liberia Limited and Afriland First Bank.
On the contrary, the database travel records on Ales Sranmek showed that he (Sranmek) has never travelled to Liberia before and that only Karel Socher had come to Liberia on three occasions with entry-exit dates.
The three times Socher came to Liberia according to the document were; January 3, 2018 to February 7, 2018, April 20, 2018 to May 25, 2018 and September 21, 2018 to October 5, 2018.
Therefore, the court record claims that both Karel Socher and Ales Sranmek were not in the country at the time of the opening of the account by Singbeh at Ecobank and Afriland First Bank.
“Sranmek and Socher were not in Liberia when the December 11, 2013 resolution was reached by Singbeh and Gloria Caine,” the document alleges.
It also claims that Singbeh, in furtherance to his criminal manipulation of the systems, opened two purported and or fraudulent accounts at Ecobank Liberia Limited and Afriland First Bank supposedly in the name of the company with both account numbers: Ecobank account number 005-101-472-277-820-1 and Afriland Bank account number 020-121-980-103 , with co-defendant Karel Socher, as signatory ‘B’.
The record alleges that after opening the two accounts, Singbeh convinced the Miloschewsky brothers, who later deposited the US$2,495,109 and US$102,000 into the bogus and purported accounts.