How Did Four Auditors Die? – Autopsy Today Could Bring Closure or Open Pandora Box – But Families Reject Autopsy Proceedings

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Following a call on the Government of the United States of America to investigate cause of the mysterious death of personnel of the Liberia Revenue Authority, the Government of Liberia has finally confirmed that it will this Monday, October 19, 2020 conduct autopsies on the remains of the late Mr. Albert Peters, Mrs. Gifty Asmah Lama, George Fahnboto and Emmanuel Nyeswa who died under circumstances deemed suspicious.

According to a Ministry of Information press statement, the post mortem examination is aimed at establishing the cause of death of the deceased, whose passing has given rise to public concern. The dead, Albert Peters, a former Internal  Auditor of the Liberia Revenue Authority; GiftyLamah, Research Analyst, Liberia Revenue Authority; George B. Fanbutu, Revenue Auditor, Liberia Revenue Authority; and the Director General of the Internal Audit Agency, Emmanuel BartenNyeswua, all died within days of one another.

“The process is expected to commence at 10 AM; representatives of the Families, the Press Union of Liberia, the Inter-Religious Council and Civil Society organizations have been invited to witness the autopsies, which will be carried out by Dr. Benedict B. Kolee and Dr. Zoebon B. Kpadeh at the St. Moses Funeral Palor. Both pathologists were trained by UNDP and internationally certified,” MICAT said.

The government said it has also availed the families of the deceased the option of bringing on board pathologists of their choosing. “This message has been reiterated by the authorities in the various meetings with family members.”

Liberian investigators have begun working with their American counterparts following an appeal by the Liberian government for U.S. assistance. President George M. Weah last week requested Liberia’s International Partners to help with the investigations as a means of ensuring an open and credible process, the Government release stated, while appealing to the public to remain calm and allow the investigation to establish the cause of these deaths and not engage in acts that could undermine the credibility of the process.

Gifty Asmah Lama and Albert Peters, two staff of the Liberia Revenue Authority were discovered dead in a parked vehicle on Broad Street on October 2, 2020 under extremely mysterious circumstances. Another LRA staff, George Fahnboto, was involved in a mysterious accident on October 4, 2020 along the Paynesville 72nd route, resulting in his death. Mr. Fahnboto was reportedly hacked on the head by a machete-wielding assailant, causing him to lose control of his vehicle. Then on October 10, 2020 the Director General of the Internal Audit Agency, Mr. Emmanuel BartenNyeswa was found dead at his 72nd Paynesville compound under similar mysterious circumstances.

Although it has been claimed in unconfirmed quarters that the dead government auditors were investigating expenditures of the COVID-19 funds, the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Information, has categorically denied that the dead government personnel were auditors.

President George Weah has called on the government of the United States of America to aid in uncovering the cause of the death of the deceased, albeit he had hinted that Mrs. Gifty Lama and Albert Peters might have been involved in “boyfriend-girlfriend” business, for which no one had the right to take their lives.

Immediately following President Weah’s call for assistance to the US Government, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Internal Auditors, Richard F. Chambers, wrote to the US Secretary of State, raising his concerns for the mysterious death of the four auditors.

“In addition to the short period in which these mysterious deaths occurred, all four reportedly were conducting ongoing audits of Liberia government accounts over allegations of misappropriations of funds…” Mr. Chambers informed Secretary Pompeo in a letter dated October 16, 2020, hoping that the US Government would seriously consider the request from the Government of Liberia.

Meanwhile, the families of the deceased have indicated to the Government of Liberia through an official communication that they are no longer interested in the outcome of the investigation, and that they do not wish to participate in the autopsy proceedings. Detail of the letter is herein published. See below full text of the official press release from the families of the late Mrs. Gifty Lama and the later Albert Peters.

 

Official Press Statement From The Families Of The Late Albert K. Peters And Gifty Asmah Lama

Monrovia – On the 2nd of October, we as families, woke up to the news of the tragic deaths of our loved ones, Mr. Albert K. Peters, Asst. Commission, Internal Audit of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and Mrs. Gifty Asmah Lama, Manager, Tax Services also of the LRA.

The circumstances surrounding their death remains a mystery to us; a mystery we might never uncover.  As devastated as we are about their passing, we are even more hurt by the negative speculations of the circumstances and the purported cause of their death. As loved ones of the deceased, we categorically state that both individuals were persons considered by families, friends and co-workers to have exhibited outstanding integrity in their personal and professional lives.  Even in their death, we desire to uphold their legacy and integrity and herewith reject the speculations concerning the circumstances leading to their death.

As we desire to discover the truth surrounding their suspicious death, we have been in communication with law enforcement personnel including the Ministry of Justice and have cooperated with every aspect of the investigation once called upon. We herein thank the Government of Liberia for its interest in instituting and conducting this investigation of the suspicious death of our family members in keeping with the law. However, we herewith express our dissatisfaction in relation to a few observations and actions on the part of law enforcement functionaries which indicate to us a lack of a proper mechanism for the impartial investigation of this sad event.

They include;

Leaking of information of the investigation to unauthorized third parties with the clear aim of lending legitimacy to the purported causes of death; Providing conflicting information to the public regarding the investigation;  Public statements made by key policy makers of the Government all aiming at confirming the opinions which obviously prejudices the investigation;

Based on these facts, we expressed to the Government that we were no longer interested in the outcome of the investigation and we wish to proceed with the burial rites of both deceased. However, we received communication informing us of an autopsy scheduled on Monday, October 19, 2020 at 10am at the St. Moses Funeral Parlor, Somalia Drive, Gardnersville and further inviting the families to provide representatives to witness the performance of the autopsy. We herein state that because of the lack of trust in the investigation as established previously, we as families, hereby give notice to the Government and to the public, that we do not wish to participate in the autopsy proceedings.  The Government may proceed in conducting its autopsy as it is an obligation thereof in these circumstances. Upon completion of said autopsy by the Government, we desire to have the remains of our loved ones immediately turned over to us that we may bid them farewell honorably.

We also wish to further clarify that the families have at no time received any of the items, laptops, phones or vehicles as may have been indicated to the public.

Again, we thank the Government of the Republic of Liberia, particularly the police and the Ministry of Justice, for its interest and the support provided so far. May the souls of Albert and Gifty and that of all faithfully departed Rest in Peace.

Signed:

MRS. BEATRICE ANDREWS PETERS         MR. SYLVESTER LAMA

WIDOW OF THE DECEASED              WIDOWER OF THE DECEASED

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