Some employees suspected of being in corrupt practices at the Ministry of Transport (MoT) have reportedly created a cartel in which almost all motor vehicles registration certificate are obtained after payment of “bribes” in the amount of thousands of united states dollars to have falsified the registration certificate of Standard Logistics to clear ten 2018 model Howo Sinotruk Dump Truck from the Free Port of Monrovia, an investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has unearthed.
Normally, the payments process passes through stages before reaching the deputy minister for Land and Rail, and the director of Motor Vehicle that authorized the payment.
In the Standard Logistics case, it was the legitimate signature of Darius Kollie, deputy minister for Land and Rail and his director for motor vehicle appeared on it.
According to an insider who requested not to be named told this paper that junior employees, including those serving tea, office messengers, clerks and security officers, have become rich overnight, benefiting from the alleged corruption networks with a number of them owning palatial homes and driving top-of-the-range cars.
The well-connected junior employees, who have been allegedly working in cohorts with a section of their bosses are said to be untouchable within the ministry, adding that the corrupt activities at the ministry goes on unabated, our source said.
“This so much that only a detailed investigation, including a lifestyle audit, will help cleanse the image of the ministry,” according to the source.
Speaking to this paper on anonymity, an insider who is privy to matters concerning the ministry, said both the LACC and the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) Crime Service Department (CSD) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) has been notified of the alleged corruption web.
A communication dated March 22, 2019 addressed to Deputy Minister of Land and Rail, Darious Kollie copy in the possession of this paper said that CSD is currently probing into a matter in which it is alleged that Golden Veroleum-Liberia abused its duty free privilege by clearing ten (10) dump truck and assorted spare parts from the Free Port of Monrovia, in January 2019 thereby, defrauding government of Liberia out of revenue amounting to over US$382,000.
It continues, “the LNP investigation thus far revealed that the trucks and spare parts in question belonging to a company named MHM EKO-Liberia that applied to the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) for a duty-free but was denied, however, MHM EKO was successful in clearing their equipment through fraudulent transactions.
Concluding, the letter said, “we are knowledgeable that revenue collection is paramount to the growth and development of the country, we kindly request through your office for the Ministry of Transport to assist the ongoing investigation with the names of persons or institutions, the ten (10) 6X4 dump trucks belonging to.”
MHM EKO-Liberia is a Czech Republic owned company, a rock crushing company situated in Seeke Town, District#4 in Margibi County.
T, J. Nanborlor Singbeh, is also a former president and chairman of the board of directors, holds 30 percent of a total of 100 shares, while two Czech Republic nationals, Pavel Miloschewsky and Martin Miloschewsky, hold 35 percent each.
When contacted, Darius Kollie confirmed about the LACC’s investigation of the ten trucks registration certificates but accuses the Standard Logistics of falsifying the director of motor vehicle’s signature to obtain the motor vehicle registration certificates for the ten tracks but according to the certificate, the vehicles were purchased on January 10, 2019 and subsequently registered on February 12, 2019, however, the expiration date of the document is February 11, 2020.
“This is very much embarrassing, and we are going to get to the bottom of the investigation,” Kollie said, though he has so far refused to attend to the police invitation.
However, in a letter dated August 19, 2019 inviting the management of Standard Logistics, Minister Kollie informed the company that they have recognized their partnership in an effort to contribute to the growth and development of the country’s economy.
“We herewith request that you kindly forward the registration documents of all vehicles in your fleet to the office of the deputy minister for land and rail on August 21, 2019 before the close of the business,” Kollie communication said.
But Kollie said the company management team has refused to attend his call.’
In another letter to Standard Logistics dated August 15, Minister Kollie again said ” I write to submit findings on seven (7) vehicle registration documents owned by the Standard Logistics which registration was done between February 12 to 25, 2019.”
According to Kollie, from the verification exercise of the registration documents, it was observed that none of the mentioned documents are valid from the MoT vehicle registration system thus classifying them as illegal registration.