Will Liberia Transform Into A Mortuary -Before Gov’t Exhibits Practical Action Of Arrest For The Many Mysterious Deaths?

Until the government can take the unhindered lead by robustly bringing to justice, those culpable for the mysterious murdered of some citizens, Liberians remain very low-spirited and overwhelmed with perpetual fear for their safety and security, which is solely the responsibility of the government.

Challenging the government to lead by example, march words with deeds, and be very pragmatic in demonstrating impartiality and fearlessly, in executing the law with emphasis on arresting and punishing in keeping with due process of the killers of so many resourceful citizens, and by extension, all other Liberians victimized by such nefarious individuals, should n ot continue of be stamped with a lackadaisical notion.

According to the people, they are still worried and gravely concerned about the mysterious and quizzical demise of the four auditors; the murdered son the late President William V.S. Tubman, John H. Tubman and the son of the late President William R. Tolbert, Peace Ambassador William Richard Tolbert, lll with police report alleging that Tolbert’s death could be homicide;  later on Wednesday, November3, 2021 in an interview with TRUTH 96.1 FM in Monrovia through its (police’s) spokesman Moses Carter noted that the act was murder including  an employed Immigration lady found dead at her house in Brewerville, was also an act of murder along with a chain of reported ritual killings all over the country, had not been thoroughly adjudicated and those responsible arrested tried and sentenced;  as often said, delays are dangerous; and therefore if the deaths of the victims cannot be handled, pundits are wondering whether Liberia will transform into a mortuary before the government can begin to show some serious action of having the cases  dealt with in the court without fear or favor. But the Police’s spokesman pointed out that the police is investigating the cases involving Tolbert, lll and the murdered immigration lady of late.

At the same time, the various news outlets continue to reports stories about mysterious killings of people around the country, with police say while it is impossible to be everywhere at the same time, and cannot disclose pertinent  factors of its ongoing investigation, it is working closely with the various community policing in investigating some of the cases.

It can be recalled that reports of the suspicious deaths of four public-sector internal auditors in Liberia are sending shock waves through the internal auditing profession amid calls for greater investigation into the circumstances of the incidents.

Occurring over eight days, from October 3-10, the four deaths involved Emmanuel Barten Nyeswua, director general, Liberia Internal Audit Agency, and Albert Peters, Gifty Lama, and George F. Fanbutu, all with the Liberia Revenue Authority. All four reportedly were conducting audits of Liberia government accounts over allegations of misappropriation of funds. Nyeswua died of an apparent fall, while the others died in apparent car accidents.

Richard Chambers, president and CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors wrote a formal letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling for the U.S. government to support Liberia President George Weah’s request for help in investigating the incidents.

                   Sinister Acts?
“If these deaths are determined to be more than coincidental accidents, we feel that such a sinister act, particularly on public servants whose sole role is to protect the country’s citizens, would be an attack on the people and an assault on society and democracy,”

Chambers wrote in the letter. “Internal auditors serve as guardians of trust for their organizations. This is particularly true of public-sector auditors, for they hold a special place in demonstrating and defending the grandest virtues of society and of our noble profession.”

In a public statement, Liberia Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie, said the government is in shock and sadness over the deaths of the auditors. Family members of the deceased auditors have expressed concern over what they consider the suspicious circumstances of their deaths.

“Details of the cause of the death of the IAA Boss are scanty,” Rennie’s said. “However, the Government of Liberia assures the public that once further details are established, it will be made known.” Its still too early to know if the Liberian government will make good on that promise. Meanwhile, internal auditor groups will continue to push for answers.

“While their violent deaths remain under investigation and there has been no formal finding of conspiracy or targeting, the losses have sent reverberations across the African nation and alarmed internal audit professionals around the world,” chambers wrote in a recent blog post on the topic.

According to local news reports, Emmanuel Barten Nyeswua, director-general of the Liberia Internal Audit Agency, was discovered in the yard of his residence at roughly 2 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. Nyeswua had been out with friends earlier in the evening; some reports said he later had visitors at his home in Monrovia, the capital city.

At least one article says the cause of death was a fall from a door on the third floor of Nyeswua’s house, which seems mysterious because it’s a narrow door with no porch or ledge outside — so why would Nyeswua have stepped through that door himself?

(See photo, below, from the Liberian Observer.)

The scene of Nyeswua’s death. He fell from the narrow half-door at the top; the milk crates on the ground mark where the body landed.

Source: Liberian Observer

At the same time, a local daily reported, we do know that Nyeswua had just finished an audit of how the government was spending money to fight Covid-19, although the contents of that report haven’t been released. Then again, Liberia routinely ranks near the bottom of the Corruption Perception Index and similar measurements of government corruption, so we can venture a guess that Nyeswua probably did find problems other people would rather be kept hidden.


       Fourth Deaths in Two Weeks

Nyeswua’s death is troubling enough, but he is the fourth government auditor to turn up dead in Liberia in two weeks. According to Front Page Africa, two employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority were found dead in a car the week of Oct. 3. One was Gifty Lama, acting manager for tax services; the other was Albert Peters, assistant commissioner for audit. Their respective spouses both say they suspect foul play.

And on Oct. 4, another auditor at the Revenue Authority, George Fanbutu, died in a car accident when driving home from a business meeting. So far police have only said that Fanbutu lost control of his vehicle and died in a collision; but a local talk-show host in Monrovia broadcast that two assailants on motorbikes had been chasing Fanbutu, forced open his door while the vehicle was in motion, and then bashed him in the head with machetes. The talk show host did release a video showing Fanbutu with a grievous head injury, but not video of any attack itself.

To be clear, we have no idea whether these four deaths are all related; or some are related but not others; or all have reasonable explanations. Liberia is a corrupt, dangerous country, and accidents can happen anywhere — so we’ll have to wait, see what happens, and hope law enforcement delivers justice for these four people.

-Writes GDJ

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