US$102K Attributed to Afriland First Bank in Secretary Singbeh’s US$5M Scam

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Afriland First Bank Liberia

From the Afriland First Bank’s argument filed before Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay of Criminal Court ‘C’, where they challenged the government’s contention of the bank’s criminal appearance bond in the ongoing US$5,062,419 economic sabotage case, questions arise as to whether the bank is willing to restitute the portion of the money attributed to it as claimed by the government.

The government is claiming that out of the US$5,062,419, the amount of US$102,000 was allegedly transferred into bank’s bogus and purported accounts by two Czech Republic brothers, Pavel and Martin Miloschewsky through Senate Secretary Nanborlor Singbeh for investment purposes to the bank, but the transaction did not take place and the money was mismanaged, of which the government is now holding the bank responsible for restitution.

The government also set the bank’s criminal appearance bond to the US$5,062,419.10 that is at the center of the accusation, of which the bank is challenging its legality. The bank also argued that they were not charged with criminal facilitation and criminal conspiracy. “The grade for criminal facilitation is a third-degree felony and this is because the bank is a corporation and not an individual that can be imprisoned.  Rather, it can only be fined and ordered to restitute the amount it is held to answer for, that is the US$102,000.”

Their legal reliance is that by law crimes are not transferrable and one cannot be made to answer for another act. “It is said in the indictment that US$102,000 of the US$5,062,149.10 went into account number 020-121-980-103, opened at the bank in the name of MHM Eko-Liberia Inc,” the bank said in reply to the government’s exception to the bond.

They added, “It is US$102,000 and not US$5,062,149.10 that the bank would be ordered to restitute.” Hence, the bank argument said, “The government is in error to say that the bond calculation should be on the US$5,062,149.10.”

The US$5,062,419.10 was in both cash and equipment and the cash portion that was transferred through both the Ecobank-Liberia and Afriland First Bank, but the company was never established and the equipment was also sold by Singbeh and his co-defendants.

The Miloschewsky’s brother claimed that US$2,495,109 was also transferred to Ecobank-Liberia into the bogus and purported accounts. The indictment alleges that 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 records also claimed 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 traveled 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 document claims that both Karel Socher and Ales Sranmek were not in the country (Liberia) 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 of his alleged 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#005-101-472-277-820-1 and Afriland Bank account#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.

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