Waling Municipality says it will sue Michael Kobold if the fire truck is not delivered

  • The German watchmaker had promised multiple firefighting vehicles for Nepal and raised thousands of dollars in donations
- Tsering D Gurung, Kathmandu

Mar 22, 2019-

Waling Municipality Mayor Dilip Pratap Khand says his office is ready to take German watchmaker Michael Kobold and his associates to court if the latter don’t fulfill an agreement signed between the two parties last year.

The municipality has already filed a complaint for a breach of contract at the Waling Ward Police Office against Kobold, his former aide Roshan Ghimire and Nepal Experience Films, the company with which it had signed the agreement last March.

As per the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two parties, the municipality paid Nepal Experience Films $20,000 for its project: the fire truck expedition, which was pitched as a charitable initiative to bring donated second-hand fire trucks from the United States to Nepal. In return for sponsorship, the municipality was promised one firefighting vehicle and a feature in a documentary filmed during the expedition. The firetruck has not arrived and the documentary  has not been released.

“We decided to go to the police because the other party has not fulfilled its side of the agreement,” said Mayor Khand. “The expedition has been delayed multiple times and we now believe that we have been duped.”

Last December, the Post published a report exposing how Kobold had used a string of lies and exaggerations to raise funds for his fire truck campaign. Kobold, who set up his watch business in Nepal in 2012, was also found to have repeatedly dodged payments to his vendors and employees in Nepal.

“We had no idea he was such a big fraud,” said Khand in an interview on Friday. “When he came to Waling, he brought some celebrities along and we believed him when he said his project would help promote our municipality.”

Khand hopes that Kobold will keep his side of the bargain after the police investigation, but if he doesn’t, the municipality will sue him for fraud.

Kobold had also signed a similar agreement with the Nepal Tourism Board which paid him $100,000 as an advance for his project. In his proposal to the board, Kobold pitched the expedition as a “tourism promotion” event for Nepal, one that would bring “international celebrities, diplomats,” along with social media endorsements from Hollywood influencers like Johnny Depp, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna.

The Post’s reporting had found that the company under whose name Kobold signed the agreement with the tourism board doesn’t exist.

A month after the initial report came out, NTB CEO Deepak Joshi told the Post his office would sue Kobold if the fire trucks did not arrive by March.

Kobold has continued to post updates on his social media, assuring followers that the fire trucks will soon be on their way, and has accused the Post of inaccurate reporting while not responding to any allegations.


Published: 22-03-2019 19:14

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