By Abednego Davis
The Registrar General of Liberia Business Registry (LBR) yesterday testified at the Criminal Court ‘C’ that the Shea K. Brown Building Materials Incorporated at the center of the importation of seven alleged stolen vehicles from the United States is not a registered business in Liberia.
Abu Kamara’s testimony was due to a subpoena (order) by the court to testify as to whether or not Shea K. Brown Building Materials Incorporated existed in August to October 2016, when the vehicles were shipped to Liberia.
The prosecution claimed that the vehicles were shipped to Liberia by defendant Armstrong Tony Campbell (who resides in the USA) through a fictitious company named Shea K. Brown Building Materials Incorporated.
Co-defendant Shea K. Brown presented himself as the General Manager.
Campbell and Brown are charged with theft of property, economic sabotage, smuggling, criminal conspiracy and facilitation in connecting with the alleged stolen vehicles.
In his testimony, Kamara claimed that the search for the existence of Shea K. Brown Building Materials Incorporated was at the request of Solicitor General Betty Lamin Blamo.
Kamara explained that Cllr. Blamo’s request was to support the Government’s investigation to determine whether Shea K. Brown Building Materials Incorporated was a duly registered business in Liberia.
“We established that there was no certificate of registration in the name of that company and also our database does not show any document on the legality of Shea K. Brown Building Materials Incorporated,” Kamara alleged.
Before his testimony, Police Chief Investigator, Alvin James told the court that it was the Interpol (in the United States) that communicated to its counterpart in Liberia about the alleged stolen vehicles.
“We conducted our own investigation and got to know that Shea K. Brown Building Materials Incorporated does not exist in Liberia,” James claimed.
Responding to a question as to whether he visited the US from where the vehicles were allegedly stolen, James said he did not travel to that country to verify the allegation.
“We trusted the US Interpol investigation and so there was no need for us to go there to verify the crimes by directly interacting with the victims,” the police chief investigator responded.
When he was asked by what medium the US government communicated with him, James said the US Interpol informed its Liberian counterparts “through the US Embassy in Monrovia.”
The prosecution alleged that from July 2016 up to October 2016, Co-defendant Campbell, Lasudo along with others yet to be identified, whilst in the United States, conspired with Co-defendant Brown to steal, take, convert, ship, receive and retain in Liberia seven stolen vehicles belonging to persons in the USA.
To conceal the identity of the vehicles, the prosecution said co-defendant Campbell provided false information about the vehicles to the shipping lines which was placed on the Packing List, Invoice, Bill of Lading and the Request for Inspection Form which was submitted to BIVAC and customs officials in Liberia.
Co-defendants Campbell and Brown, the prosecution said, caused their broker, New Millennium Cargo Handling, to falsely declare in the LRA Asycuda System misleading information about the year, model, the VIN numbers and the mileage of the vehicles.
The misleading information resulted in the understatement of the true value of the vehicles, with the intent to conceal the identities of the vehicles and defraud the Government of Liberia of its required taxes, even though the vehicles’ models were recent and in the category of luxury vehicles, (i.e 2016, 2015, etc.)
The case continues.