Monrovia – The President and Chief Executive Officers of the Institute of Internal Auditors based in the United States, Richard F. Chambers, has pleaded with U.S. Secretary of States to accept President George Weah’s request to aid with the investigations into the mysterious deaths of four Liberian auditors
The auditors including Liberia’s top internal auditors, Mr. Emmanuel Barten Nyeswa, Director General of the Liberia Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Albert Peters, Assistant Commissioner for Audit, Liberia Revenue
Authority (LRA), along with his colleague Mrs. Gifty Lama, who served as the Acting Manager for Tax Services of the LRA, and another LRA’s employee, George F. Fanbutu, all met their untimely deaths within the course of eight days under suspicious circumstances.
Their deaths continue to spark public outrage, prompting President Weah to call for the assistance of the United States Government to help with ongoing investigation to uncover the true nature of their demises.
Supporting President Weah’s request, Mr. Chambers, whose institution is representing public- and private-sector auditors in Liberia and nearly 200 countries and territories, in a communication to United States Secretary of State Mark Pompeo, called on him to assist with United States’ expertise and resources in the ongoing investigation.
“The Institute of Internal Auditors, a U.S.-based organization representing public- and private-sector auditors in Liberia and nearly 200 countries and territories, respectfully urges you to accept President Weah’s request and authorize the assistance of appropriate U.S. expertise and resources to help review circumstances around the deaths,” wrote Mr. Chambers on behalf of his organization.
In addition to the short period in which these mysterious deaths occurred, all four reportedly were conducting ongoing audits of the Liberian Government’s accounts over allegations of misappropriation of funds.
This, if it is true, mirrors an incident involving Thami Zikode, chief audit executive of the South African Broadcasting Corp. About a year ago, Zikode survived an assassination attempt, which reports said was linked to his investigation of allegations of corruption.
While evidence of any wrongdoing in the recent deaths of the four auditors so far appears inconclusive, Mr. Chambers says the United States and Liberia have a special relationship dating back more than 160 years; and supporting this notable ally would be an important gesture of both countries’ commitment to each other’s security.
Writing further, he said internal audit serves a vital role in organizations and government agencies in the United States and around the world, especially in developing countries where controls and resources may be limited.
He noted if the deaths of these of the professional Liberians were deliberately orchestrated by some sinister motives, it would be an attack on the Liberian people and democracy.
“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,” he adds.
He continues: “We thank you for your continued support of our country during these challenging times and deeply hope you will consider this critical request to assist the Liberia government in protecting their strong democracy.”
Calls for Investigation Grow Louder
The pattern of deaths of the four government’s employee over an eight-day period has left a broad spectrum of the public in insinuating that they were murdered.
Even President Weah, prior to calling for an external help in the investigation, could not hold back his opinion when he told congregants during a worship service at his private Church that Mr. Peters and Mrs. Lama may have been murdered.
Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, speaking from her recovery bed from Ghana, called for a speedy investigation in the ominous deaths of the auditors.
Earlier, on Tuesday, October 13, members of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)- Liberia’s Chapter, expressed shock over the deaths of two of its ‘devoted and dedicated’ members in Nyeswa and Peters, along with Mrs. Lama, and called for an ‘independent and fair’ forensic investigation.
“The Nation’s anti-fraud organization condemns such unexplained deaths and therefore called on the Government of Liberia (GOL) to move swiftly in conducting an independent, fair, transparent and speedy forensic investigation,” the group urged.
“The organization looks forward to seeing a logical conclusion in these recent incidents as anything short of a clear resolution could challenge Liberia’s integrity as a peaceful country.”
The group indicated that “Hon. Emmanuel B. Nyeswa and Mr. Albert K. Peters were Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs); devoted, dedicated and committed professional public sector auditors with vast experience in the upliftment of the profession.”