LIBERIA: Autopsy Reports on Deceased Auditors to be Released This Week
MONROVIA – The final reports on separate autopsies conducted on the remains of four Liberian auditors who died under mysterious circumstances in the country, is expected to be released to the public early this week.
It can be recalled that on Thursday, October 2, 2020, the lifeless bodies of the Assistant Commissioner for Internal Audit and acting Manager for Tax Payers of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) were found in a vehicle on Broad Street in Monrovia during the early morning hours
Two days later, another auditor from the LRA, Mr. George Fahnboto, reportedly died in a vehicle accident around 72nd Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
On Saturday, October 10, the Director of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Emmanuel Barten Nyeswa was also found dead in his compound along the 72nd Boulevard, outside Monrovia at 2AM.
Following the mysterious deaths of the Liberian auditors, the government initiated the conduct of autopsies on the remains of the victims, hiring Dr. Benedict B. Kolee and Dr. Zoebon B. Kpadeh.
The both Pathologists hired are employees of the Ministry of Health and the John F. Kennedy Medical Hospital, respectively.
They concluded the conduct of the two-day autopsies on October 19 in the absence of family members of Gifty and Albert, at the St. Moses Funeral Parlor on the Somalia Drive, with a promise to ensure the release of the final reports within a 14-day period.
The families of Gifty and Albert boycotted the conduct of the autopsies on grounds that they do not trust the independence of the Liberian pathologists, and the ongoing investigation launched by the government into the incident.
Following the conclusion of the autopsies, specimens extracted from the remains of the four deceased auditors were sent abroad for advance laboratory testing.
Responding to an inquiry from FrontPageAfrica via telephone over the weekend, Dr. Kolee disclosed that the reports could not be released within the given timeframe due to the late arrival of the reports on the specimens that were sent broad for advance “ancillary studies”.
Ancillary studies are defined as projects that involve the collection of new data directly from patients or from clinical investigators, or new biologic samples.
Analysis of existing data, existing biological samples, and the resulting publications are the purview of the Working Groups and the Publications Committee, and can be requested using the process of preparing and submitting an analysis concept proposal.
Dr. Kolee pointed out that those reports, were done at a laboratory certified by the European Union (EU) and the International Standard Organization (ISO).
According to him, the reports from abroad arrived in Liberia on Friday, November 6.
“We just got all of the reports yesterday and by early next week the reports will be published. We sent some samples out for physiology to check whether they were poison or other stuff. It is a highly technical work and that one came in and we got the report yesterday from a lab certified by EU, ISO”.
“That’s why we are not on time; but the report gonna be released early next week. There will be a press conference”.
The release of the final autopsies reports on the deaths of the Liberian auditors has been delayed for about seven (7) days.
The two Liberian pathologists earlier gave an assurance that the reports were to be finalized and released within a 14-day period following the end of the final autopsies conducted on Mr. Fahnbutu and Mr. Nyenswa on October 19.
It remains unclear what prompted the delay in the timely release of the reports, but Dr. Kolee has attributed the situation to the delay in the arrival of the reports on the specimens that were flown out of Liberia.
There has been mounting concerns and public outcries over the delay in the release of the final autopsies reports of the deceased Liberian professionals.
Citizens have been expressing disappointment over why the reports are being delayed, with accusing fingers being pointed at the government for “protecting the killers” of the auditors who were reported to be working on an audit report on the alleged misused of over US$48M that was given by donors for the combat against the Coronavirus pandemic in Liberia.
They believed that the release of the separate autopsy reports on the deceased auditors will end suspicions and allegations surrounding the deaths of the four employees from the internal Audit Agency (IAA) and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
The IAA has the legal mandate to “establish and direct internal audit functions within all branches of Government including the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary; and all public entities such as, public corporations, autonomous agencies, autonomous commissions, Government ministries and the Central Bank of Liberia.”
The mandate also charges the IAA to “advise and/or provide assurance that financial and operational activities of Government are in compliance with laws, policies, plans, standards and procedures that are applicable.”
The core mandate of the LRA is to administer and enforce Liberia’s Revenue Code of 2000 as amended in 2011, and other related laws under which it is assigned responsibility, for the purpose of assessing, collecting, auditing and accounting for all national revenues and for facilitating legitimate international trade through border management and enforcement.
The two agencies were established in 2014 by separate Acts of Legislation passed by the 53rd National Legislature during the administration of former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.