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Liberia: “I need my character cleared”

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Rubber Planters president demands trial of foreign national

By Winston W. Parley

Liberia-The General Manager of Mulbah Rubber Estate (MRE) and president of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia, Mrs. Wilhemina Mulbah- Siaway, says delays in clearing her character by ensuring the prosecution of Grow Liberia International Manager Elizabeth Shelley, is an impediment to her operation and her family life.

In June this year, the Liberian female private business official secured an indictment for theft of property, forgery, criminal facilitation, and criminal conspiracy against defendant Shelley, a foreign national accused by MRE of allegedly doctoring a Baker Tilly audit report to accuse Madam Mulbah – Siaway of diverting US$18,000 of project funds to her private use.

In an interview with journalists Wednesday, 27 October 2021 at the Temple of Justice, Madam Mulbah – Siaway said the audit report alleging that she had used US$18,000 of project funds to purchase a vehicle for her husband was released to her on 10 June 2020 by Grow Liberia International Manager Elizabeth Shelley.

She described the case’s delay as a great impediment to her operation and her family’s life, lamenting that since 2019 when this matter started, she has been out of operation and nothing has been going on on her farm.

Madam Mulba – Siaway recalled that upon her response to that audit report, the auditors, Baker Tilly Liberia, replied to her saying they never accused her anywhere in their audit report that she had used project money to buy a car.

She explained further that through a conference call initiated by Baker Tilly Liberia between MRE and Grow Liberia International, the auditors, Baker Tilly indicated that the report she received from Grow Liberia was not the report that the auditors gave to Grow Liberia.

On the basis of that reported charity by Baker Tilly, Madam Mulbah – Siaway said she demanded a retraction from Grow Liberia or she would seek legal redress. 

“They [Baker Tilly] forwarded the report in the platform directly to me. I have the two reports in my possession. Baker Tilly’s report is quite different from the report that Grows presented by claiming that I Wilhelmina, I’m a criminal, I stole money to be able to buy a car,” she said.

She said initially her case suffered a lot of intrusions, recalling how Liberia’s Solicitor General Cllr. Saymah Syrenius Cephus initially went stopped the matter from being heard and removed defendant Shelley from the prisoner’s bench.

However, Madam Mulbah – Siaway said she cannot accuse anyone at this time regarding the delay because after Cllr. Cephus’ previous actions, he later reconsidered his decision upon knowing the details of what happened, and then he gave her the go-ahead for the matter to be heard.

She narrated that she has indicted Grow Liberia and it has received a copy of the summons from the court, but she is waiting to see the matter being heard.

“Now we came back to see because I need my character to be cleared, I need my character to be cleared,” said Madam Mulbah – Siaway.

“Yes, I’m seeing a lot of delay process. Since we did the indictment it has been, even to get Grow Liberia, it’s been very difficult because information … around [is that] they are shutting down,” said Madam Mulbah – Siaway, adding that most of Grow Liberia’s staff are like going out of the country. “So it’s my fear and it has to do with my character,” she stated.

In the indictment filed on 24 June 2021, Madam Mulbah – Siaway complained that between 2018 and June 2019, Grow Liberia, Elizabeth Shelley and Kim Beever of the City of Monrovia doctored or caused to be doctored, a forensic audit report to state that “the audit team found evidence that Mrs. Wilhelmina Mulbah, General Manager of MRE, fraudulently used US18, 000 of the Project’s funds to purchase a vehicle for private use.”

However, the indictment said the audit report submitted by the auditors, Baker Tilly Liberia, did not contain such a claim, thereby accusing the defendants of committing the crimes of theft of property, forgery, criminal conspiracy, and criminal facilitation.

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