Recurring, Suspicious Deaths Dampen Liberia’s Post-War Revival

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TOO MANY DEATHS are going unexplained in a country with so much uncertainty, boggled down by recurring tragedies that seem to lead to controversial conclusions.

BARELY SEVENTEEN MONTHS after Matthew Innis, Deputy Director of Macrofinance at the Central Bank of Liberia mysteriously lost his life in an alleged hit-and-run accident, Liberia has been rocked by yet another mysterious set of killings.

RESIDENTS IN THE Broad Street, Snapper Hill Community in Monrovia, woke up last Friday to the discovery of two bodies in a parked car near vicinity of the United Bank of Africa branch and the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Snapper Hill.

THE CORPSES HAVE been identified as Albert Peters and Mrs. Gifty Asmah Lama, both employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority.

MR. PETERS SERVED as an Internal Auditor while Mrs. Lama was a research analyst.

BOTH WERE SMART, intelligent and good at their jobs.

MRS. LAMA IS A 2019 Mandela Washington for Young African Leaders.

FOLLOWING THE ANNOUNCEMENT of her selection as a Mandela Fellow, the US Embassy in Monrovia posted a comment from Lama in which she expressed pride that she and her team were able to use a data mining process to unearth businesses that under-declared their respective gross sales – their work to fight fraud recovered over a million dollars for the people of Liberia following a prompt audit. “Gifty serves as a mentor to youth within her community and has helped some of them pursue undergraduate degrees at various universities within Liberia,” the Embassy posted.

MR. PETERS, ACCORDING to several former friends, associate and family members, was a man of impeccable character, renowned for dedication to his job which he performed with efficiency.

SINCE THE DISCOVERY, investigators have not officially come out with any clear-cut explanation as to what may have led to the deaths. However, police sources say, Albert Peters’ wife, Beatrice Andrews-Peters, is a person of interest in the mysterious death of her husband and his workmate, Mrs. Lama.

EYEWITNESSES WHO viewed the bodies last Friday said they did not observe any bruise or sores on the body but were hit by a strong stench upon opening the door of the car.

MRS. PETERS REPORTEDLY discovered the car Friday morning and burst into wailing. The widow said she and her husband left the house together Thursday morning at about 6:30am and said when they last spoke, he told her he was going to see a friend at the UBA Bank on Broad Street.

MRS. PETERS SAID she then decided to drive around in search of her husband, since he did not return home, neither did he take her calls. She discovered his vehicle and upon opening the door, she saw his lifeless body.

LIKE THE INNIS’s death, the LRA pair’s discovery is smelling with loads of suspicions.

INNIS’S DEATH came on the heels of a damning financial scandal involving millions of US dollars and billions in Liberian dollars which are “unaccounted for” following a forensic audit by Kroll and a Presidential investigative team.

IRONICALLY, AS IT IS NOW, families of the late Innis, found it difficult to believe the initial story surrounding their relative’s death, insisting that he did not die of a “hit-and-run” accident was concluded.

OVER THE PAST DECADE, since the end of the brutal civil war, Liberia has been engulfed in a sea of suspicious deaths with questionable conclusions.

IN FEBRUARY 2015, for example, Counsellor Michael Allison, a former consultant to the National Oil Company of Liberia, was found dead on the beach

HE REPORTEDLY had a role to play in an ongoing investigation involving the speaker of the Liberian House of Representatives.

LIKE THE DEATHS of Peters and Lama and Innis before, foul play was suspected in Allison’s death. Some friends and associates claimed that Allison, the son of former Defense Minister Gray D. Allison had complained to friends that his life was in danger.

EXACTLY A YEAR after Allison’s death, yet another mysterious death took place when the body of Mr. Harry A. Greaves, Jr., former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), was found on the beach behind the old Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs on Capitol Hill, Monrovia, on the morning of January 31, 2016.

MR. GREAVES, once an ally and official in the former administration of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf would later become one of the government’s harshest critics. Thus, his death left a sea of lingering questions.

THESE KILLINGS bring fresh memories to the days of former President Samuel Kanyon Doe and Charles Taylor’s governments.

IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT for authorities to increase neighborhood security and patrol in a bid to avert these incidents and tragedies from repeatedly recurring, causing a stain on Liberia’s image and threatening its national security.

WHEN SOLDIERS LOYAL to Doe entered the home of Rev. Walter Richards, the former pastor of Brewerville’s Salem Baptist Church and Clay Ashland’s First Baptist Church one afternoon in June, 1990, looking for him, they mistook his brother, the eminent Liberian sculptor R. Vanjah Richards for Pastor Richards.  The soldiers arrested R. Vanjah, beheaded him and threw his body into the Po River on the Bomi Hills highway.

REV. RICHARDS WAS A former pastor of Brewerville’s Salem Baptist Church and Clay Ashland’s First Baptist Church. A powerful Baptist preacher, clergyman’s sermons often incurred the wrath of the Doe government.

IN THE 173 YEARS since its independence, Liberia has been plagued with a serious of unexplained deaths that leaves many bewildered that such occurrences continue to haunt the country.

IN ORDER TO ERASE the cloud of suspicions surrounding the latest discovery, it is important that investigators, this time around adequately delve into the circumstances that led to the deaths of two of Liberia’s smartest auditors and researchers.

TOO MANY DEATHS are going unexplained in a country with so much uncertainty, boggled down by recurring tragedies that seem to lead to controversial conclusions.

ALL THESE incidents pose grave dangers to Liberia’s post-war revival.

IT IS OUR HOPE that authorities do everything within its power to ensure that the investigation into the deaths of Mr. Peters and Mrs. Lama will be swift, thorough and transparent.

IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT for authorities to increase neighborhood security and patrol in a bid to avert these incidents and tragedies from repeatedly recurring, causing a stain on Liberia’s image and threatening its national security.

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