By Abednego Davis –
Senate Secretary Nanborlor Singbeh’s site Manager, Petr Pesek has been arrested in Paris, the Republic of France, and international formalities to extradite him back to the country is currently ongoing. According to documents obtained by the Daily Observer, Pesek is expected to stand criminal trial here in Liberia.
Pesek was arrested on October 28, 2020 in France apparently where he and his General Manager, Karel Sochor, a Czech citizen, had gone to seek refuge after their country’s government received the international arrest warrant from the Government of Liberia.
An unconfirmed report from Paris, France, indicates that Sochor was later released immediately after he showed a faked clearance believed to have been granted in his absence by the Interpol Section of the Liberia National Police (LNP).
Pesek, who served as Site Manager from 2017 up to 2020, is a fugitive from the Liberian justice standpoint for allegedly misapplying about US$5 million in both cash and equipment from the Czech Republic owned company, MHM Eko Liberia Limited.
A letter from Liberia’s Ambassador to France, Geraldine Bass-Golokeh, dated November 10, 2020 and addressed to Dee-Maxwell Saah Kamayah Sr., Liberia’s Foreign Minister, a copy of which is in possession of this newspaper, authenticates the arrest of Pesek.
In her letter, the Embassy said, “I present my compliments of highest consideration and have the honor to forward, herewith attached, an unofficial translation of a verbal note Ref: FEA/SAEJ/CEJ No 2020-0477140, dated 30th October 2020, but received on 9th November 2020 from the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of France, requesting the Government of Liberia to formally request for the extradition of Mr. Petr Pesek, a Czech citizen, following a warrant of arrest for prosecution issued against him by Criminal Court ‘C’ of the Republic of Liberia on 12th June 2020.”
It further reads: “Mr. Pesek was arrested in France on October 28, 2020, and considering the warrant of arrest issued by the Liberian Government, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of France is kindly requesting the relevant authorities to make a formal extradition request no longer than December 10, 2020, according to the six-week deadline for extradition in the agreement between the Republic of France and the Republic of Liberia.”
In conclusion, the Ambassador said, “While awaiting updates on the extradition process, kindly accept, Mr. Minister, the assurances of my highest esteem.”
In response, the Ministry of Justice through Deputy Minister of Justice for Codification, Counselor Nyenati Tuan on December 7, 2020, wrote Foreign Minister Kemayah asking him to make a formal request to the Government of the Republic of France.
Cllr. Tuan’s letter which copy is also in possession of this paper said, “We present our compliments and herewith acknowledge receipt of your letter LEP,260/CS/2020, dated the 10th of November AD 2020, consistent with a verbal note Ref FEA/SAEJ/ CEJ No 2020-0477140, requesting the Government of the Republic of Liberia to commence the extradition arrangements as made and provided by an Extradition Treaty entered into between the Republic of France and the Republic of Liberia.”
It further reads: “That consistent with the Extradition Treaty entered into between both states, we herewith request that your esteemed institution make a formal request to the Government of the Republic of France, His Excellency the Foreign Affairs Minister of France, for the extradition of Mr Pesek who was arrested on the 28th day of October AD 2020, having been allegedly charged with the crimes of economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation.”
In conclusion, the MoJ said,” Kindly accept, Mr. Minister, the assurances of our highest esteem.”
What may interest people is that despite the communication exchanges and the ultimatum period of a six-week deadline between the two countries, there is no evidence that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has intervened in the process.
Also, it remains unclear whether or not defendant Pesek’s release or extradition to face his multiple criminal charges is possible.
Surprisingly, Singbeh’s legal team is seeking the extradition of Pesek, whose right they claimed has been violated as a result of his prolonged detention.
In their letter dated December 3, 2020, under the signature of Counselor G. Wiefueh Alfred Sayeh, and subsequently addressed to Cllr Wesseh Alphonsus Wesseh, Assistant Minister of Justice for Litigation, they argue that “Because our clients who are out of the country and would not be found to be served the indictment, you wrote the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP) on August 20, 2020, for the issuance of an international arrest warrant against our clients.”
They further argued that the said warrant was issued by the LNP, which one of their clients, Co-defendant Petr Pesek, was arrested in Paris, the Republic of France.
They further argued that the crimes for which our clients were indicted and for which the international arrest warrant was issued are indictable offenses under our law, and “therefore there should be no reason why our client, arrested upon issuance of the warrant should be lingering in Jail’in Paris, France, when the crimes for which he was arrested are bailable offense.”
The lawyers also argued that” It is our understanding that the Government of Liberia has taken no further steps to get our client returned to Liberia in keeping with the rules of the international warrant and international best practices.”
“Our client’s illegal and continued incarceration based upon the international warrant issued by the Government of Liberia is a gross violation of his rights under international laws and the laws of the Republic of Liberia.”
It went on, “the international warrant does not imply guilt, but rather to help the issuing country apprehend a defendant wanted for prosecution.”
The letter also said, “We, therefore, demand that our client, Co-defendant Petr Pesek, through the Ministry of Justice, be forwarded to Liberia forthwith and without delay so that we can prepare his bond and submit same to the judge presiding in Criminal Court ‘C’ for approval in keeping with the law.”
The accusation that led to the arrests of Pesek, Singbeh, and the two Czech Republic nationals, resulted from a complaint filed by two Czech Republic investors, Martin and Pavel Miloschewsky, who claimed they transferred the money and equipment to Singbeh, who by then holds a 30 percent shares in the company.
MHM Eko Liberia Limited is a rock crushing company that is situated in Welah, Margibi County, and that Pesek, Kare Sochor, general manager and Ales Sramek , prior to Pesek’s arrest, served as legal representation to the Czech brothers in the country, who had never been in Liberia.
The Criminal Court ‘C’ in Liberia where Pesek’s is expected to face his multiple criminal charges, issued in 2020 an arrest warrant for Pesek and two other Czech Republic nationals, Sochor, Sramek and Singbeh.
Credit to Daily Observer.