LIBERIA: Selective Interrogation Won’t Cut It In Mysterious Deaths Of Auditors


ON THE EVE of the release of separate autopsies conducted on the remains of four Liberian auditors who died under mysterious circumstances recently, authorities  in Liberia, on Monday called in for questioning, three friends of Mr. Emmanuel Barten Nyeswa, the late head of the Internal Audit Agency(IAA).

MR. NYESWA was found dead on Saturday, October 10, 2020, in his compound along the 72nd Boulevard, outside Monrovia at about 2 am.

THE LATE IAA BOSS had recently completed an audit of the government’s handling of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

THE THREE FRIENDS, Teakon Williams, Dr. Emmanuel Wreh and a female friend were in the home of Mr. Nyeswa at the time of his death.

BESIDES NYESWA, three other auditors – Mr. Albert K. Peters, Assistant Commissioner, for Internal Audit of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Mrs. Gifty Asmah Lama, Manager, Tax Services and Mr. George Fahnboto, also an auditor at the LRA – have all died mysteriously.

GIFTY AND ALBERT were found in her vehicle on Broad Street while Fahnboto was involved in a mysterious accident.

IRONICALLY, AUTHORITIES ARE yet to announce the arrest of any suspects in the deaths of Mr. Peters, Madam Asmah and Mr. Fahnboto, even as speculations linger over mysterious men who were in possession of Gifty’s phone as alleged by her husband, Sylvester Lama.

LATE MONDAY, however, FrontPageAfrica gathered that authorities had charged the female friend with Homicide and taken her to the Zone Two Police Station in Monrovia. The other two, Mr. Williams and Mr. Wreh were also held overnight.

HER LAWYERS confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that they intend to file a Herbeas Corpus Tuesday in a bid to have her release.

A HERBEAS CORPUS is a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.

AUTHORITIES HAVE been mum over why the trio have been picked up but a senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity Monday said that the friends of Mr. Nyeswa are being questioned in connection to his death.

SAID TO OFFICIAL: “We are intensifying our investigation and we are still investigating. The fact of the matter is that those who were in the house at the time of Mr. Nyeswah’s death have been uncooperative with the investigation. When we call them, they either refuse to come or fail to respond to our request.

THEY HAVE BEEN going and coming for interrogation. When we call them, they come at their own volition. We have been interviewing them since the killing of Mr. Nyeswah and the investigation is ongoing. We will come out with a determination, once the investigation is completed.”

ACCORDING TO THE OFFICIAL, the trio have been uncooperative with authorities during the course of the investigation. “They have been playing around. So, now we are stepping up the probe and interrogation until we get some answers. The way we will exert pressure, somebody will break down. But we must hear something from those who were present in the house.”

FRONTPAGEAFRICA HAS LEARNED that investigators are also raising questions about the door leading out of Mr. Nyeswa’s bedroom, where he reportedly fell to his death. “The door, when you closed the door, it cannot open from outside. Whoever slept there have to answer question.  We are winding down now and we will make a determination once the probe is completed. In the meantime, the autopsy report will be delivered this week. We are waiting for the autopsy before concluding. We could not arrest people while the autopsy was still being done. Now, that it is nearly completed, we have to ask questions.

WHILE MANY Liberians have been clamoring for answers, some were taken aback over the manner in which the investigation has been handled.

TO DATE, families of all of those found dead mysteriously have expressed disappointment over the manner in which authorities have handled the probe from the start.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, both spouses have taken the government to task for trying to demonized their deceased relatives with insinuations that Gifty and Albert were lovers.

IN THE CASE OF MR. NYESWA, questions are also being raised as to why many of those with close access to Mr. Nyeswa’s home have not been interrogated.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, THERE’S also the issue of the missing key.

ACCORDING TO CLOSE friends, Mr. Bill Twehway, head of the National Port Authority(NPA), also a close friend to the deceased had unfettered access to the house.

IN THE AFTERMATH of the incident, Mr. Williams told police that all four of them, including the deceased had gone out the night before at De Calabash hangout spot, chatted with friends and had a few drinks. Both Mr. Williams and Dr. Wreh, are long-time friend who shared the house with the late IAA director.

THE LATE NYESWA, according to statements given to police, viewed by FrontPageAfrica, called Mr. Williams to come out for a drink at De Calabash. They all hung out until about 11p.m. when they decided to leave.

MR. NYESWA HAD been at De Calabash from around 5pm and Williams joined him around 7pm. When he and friends finally returned home around 11pm, Williams told police he(Williams) was the last to enter the house. Williams told police that he locked the back door three times. “The front door was already locked. In fact, it was locked the whole week because the Late Nyeswa could not find the key.”

AT ABOUT 1A.M, Williams told Police that the security came knocking on his door and when he opened it, he asked the security, “how did you enter”. The security reportedly told Williams, according to the statement given to the police,  that the door was opened. Williams says he then proceeded to knock on Mr. Nyeswa’s door, where he was with the female friend.

WILLIAMS SAYS he told the friend to come with him downstairs, where they found Nyeswa bleeding from his head and ears. Mr. Williams says he told the friend to notify Dr. Emmanuel Wreh, who was also in the house. “We all tried to resuscitate him but to no avail.”

THE QUESTION of the missing key is an important  part to the Nyeswa mystery which is why authorities must question all those who had access to the home – and not just those who were present at the time of his death.

AUTHORITIES HAVE been quiet for far too long on the deaths of these auditors. There have been no daily or weekly updates on the investigation as speculations swirl around the mysteries associated with the deaths.

WE HOPE THAT authorities will avoid creating the growing perceptions that certain persons allegedly connected to these deaths are being given preferential treatments while others are being scapegoated.

IN ANY TRANSPARENT INVESTIGATION, all those with alleged ties and connections to the deceased or victims in suspicious deaths must be subject to interrogation.

FAILURE on the part of authorities to do this will only add to more lingering questions in this recurring state of uncertainty regarding these mysterious deaths.