Singbeh’s Prosecution Dilemma Faces New Pro-Temp?

30

Pro Temp Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence is likely   to face an increasingly pressing dilemmas on how best to act on  the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)  2021 letter requesting the surrender of the Secretary of the Senate, Nanborlor Singbeh to face criminal prosecution. With the inauguration today, January 22; of President-elect Joseph N.  Boakai, who had repeatedly vowed to ensure transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law  Senator Karnga-Lawrence herself  supporter of Boakai’s  ideology, stands in the gap to decide whether or not to bring the letter forwarded  to her colleagues for deliberation on Senate Secretary Singbeh’s legal saga. The Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), in 2019, indicted defendant Singbeh for allegedly opening two bogus accounts in the name of MHM Eko-Liberia, conspired with Karel Sochor, Ales Sramek, Peter Pesek, Jan Holaseh (Czech Republic nationals )and Gloria Caine by convincing two Czech investors, Martin Miloschewsky and Pavel Miloschewsky to transfer US$2,495,109 and US$102,000,to pay custom duties on equipment imported, employees salaries and other running cost. The indictment notes that the total value of properties including cash and equipment stolen directly from the Czech nationals by the defendants is estimated at about US$5, 062, 419.10.  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, the indictment said. To ensure that they followed up on legislative procedure to have Singbeh surrender to the jurisdiction of Criminal Court’C’ ,  the ministry in June of 2021 wrote then  Pro-Tempore Albert Chie. Unfortunately, Senator Chie rejected the letter from  the Assistant Minister for Litigation at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Counselor Wesseh Alphonsus Wesseh, now a judge. Senator Chie’s contention 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. Though Wesseh ratified the error and resubmitted the corrected letter to the office of the Pro-Tempore Chie, he has never introduced the letter on the agenda for deliberation. The letter however was received and signed for by Singbeh’s Deputy, Janneve Verdier Massaquoi. This is the request that Senator Karnga-Lawrence has to deal with when the Senate resumes for normal business so as to ensure that Singbeh’s trial starts during the February 2023 Term of Criminal Courts. Cllr. Wesseh’s communication addressed to Senate Pro-Tempore Chie then  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).” 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. However, the letter was never introduced on the floor of the Senate for deliberation up to and including the publication of the story. 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. 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.”

Comments are closed.