Senate Pro Tempore Stalls MoJ’s Request to Surrender Singbeh

Senate Secretary Nanborlor Singbeh.

It is extremely unlikely that Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie will accept the Ministry of Justice’s request letter to temporarily discharge the Secretary of the Senate, J. Nanborlor F. Singbeh of his post to attend to the economic sabotage, theft of property, forgery and criminal conspiracy charges, in connection to the alleged misapplication of over US$5 million transferred to the country for investment purposes by two Czech investors, Martin and Pavel Miloschewsky.

The Miloschewsky brothers were to hold 35 percent share each, with Singbeh holding the remaining 30 percent share in the proposed MHM Eko Liberia Limited, a rock crushing company that was expected to have been operating in Wella, Margibi County.

This stems from Senator Chie's rejection of the Ministry’s communication on grounds that there was a reputational error contained in the Assistant Minister for Litigation Counselor Wesseh Alphonsus Wesseh's letter, dated June 28.

Cllr. Wesseh's communication addressed to Senate Pro-Tempore Chie reads, “Senator Albert T. Chie, President Pro-Tempore and Honorable Members of the Honorable Liberian Senate (In session), The Honorable Liberian Senate, Capitol Hill, Monrovia, Liberia).”

However, Senator Chie's argument was that Cllr. Wesseh repeated twice the word ‘Honorable’ in the communication, which he believes constitutes a major error to be introduced on the agenda for deliberation by the House of Senate.

It is not clear whether Minister Wesseh has ratified the error and resubmitted the corrected letter to the office of the Pro-Tempore.

The Senate procedure says that for a communication to be placed on the agenda, it must first be received by the Secretariat currently headed by Singbeh.

Singbeh, who is the secretary of the Senate and head of the Secretariat, upon receipt of the communication, will submit it to the office of the Pro-Tempore and Senator Chie will review the content and mandate the Secretariat to place it on the agenda for deliberation.

Wesseh's letter said if Senator Chie and the Senate were to agree to grant the request, it would not allow Singbeh to influence the trial while serving the Government and people of the Republic of Liberia as Secretary of the Honorable Liberian Senate.

Wesseh informed Chie that Singbeh and several others including current and past public officials, were investigated by the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission (LACC) for economic sabotage and theft of property, after which they were jointly indicted by the Government of the Republic of Liberia for prosecution.

The letter, received and signed for by Singbeh's Deputy, Janneve Verdier Massaquoi, reminded Senator Chie that the matter is before Criminal Court ‘C’ for Montserrado County and has been scheduled to be tried during the May A.D. 2021 Term of Court after the conclusion of pre-trial disposition.

It can be recalled that Magistrate Victoria Worlobah Duncan of the Kakata Magisterial Court in Margibi County issued an arrest order on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, where Singbeh and Sochor were accused of illegal sale of heavy-duty earth-moving equipment (caterpillars) and heavy-duty trucks worth about US$650,000.

Magistrate Duncan then instructed her court sheriff and some officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to accompany the sheriff to arrest Singbeh, who had refused to honor the court’s numerous invitations to answer to the accusation.

Surprisingly, Senator Chie, according to Magistrate Duncan, prevented Singbeh's arrest and only managed to write the Magistrate on the back of his call card with an excuse.

A Copy of Senator Chie's written comment on the call card on September 12 reads, “Your Honor, Victoria Worlobah Duncan, I confirm that the Secretary of the Senate has been served the writ and will appear.”