Liberia: Speculations, Denials & Chilling Account of the Last Moments of Fallen Internal Audit Agency Director

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Monrovia – When news broke early Saturday morning that Mr. Emmanuel Barten Nyeswua, Director General of the Internal Audit Agency had died, initial reports suggested that he was intoxicated with alcohol – from a night out with friends at a local bar, woke up in the middle of the night and mistook a door in his bedroom leading to an outside pavement 13 feet from the ground, for the bathroom, and fell to his death.

In the days after Mr. Nyeswa’s death, speculations have heightened amid reports that the former IAA boss may have been lured from his bedroom by a phone call and killed to make it look like he fell from his bedroom.

The Night at De Calabash

It all started late afternoon on Friday, October 9, when the late Nyeswa and three housemates, Teakon Williams, Dr. Emmanuel Wreh and a female friend arrived 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.

Looking back, Mr. Williams told Police that it appeared a car was tracking Mr. Nyeswa. “When Nyeswa got to his car it was blocked by one Mong or Monk. I believe they block him to track him movement (when he was leaving) and stage a crime scene in his absence (opening that top door). We left got to the house and everybody retired to their rooms. Barten and myself had female friends with us.”

Back at the House

When Nyeswa 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 statement given to police,  that the door was opened.

Williams says he then proceeded to knock on Mr. Nyeswa’s door, where he was with a 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.”

According to the statement given to police, When Dr. Wreh looked up he realized that the door (the emergency door) was opened. He let me know that.”

This was the door located in the bedroom of Mr. Nyeswa.

Williams, in statement to police, said he looked at his phone and realized that Mr. Norris Tweah had called him around 12:22a.m. Williams says he  called Norris, who along with him, took Nyeswa to the hospital where he died an hour later.

Mystery Over How Security Entered House

Close friends to Williams say they believe that they too may have been targets.

According to the housemates, Mr. Bill Twehway, Managing Director of the National Port Authority also has keys to Nyeswa’s home.

One of the housemates, speaking to FPA on condition of anonymity believe that Nyeswa was lured from his room and killed. “I was asleep, I don’t know whether Nyeswa received a call and went out. But I saw the security inside the house, and up till now not one of us knows how he entered. We remember locking the door.” 

Both Nyeswa and Twehway reportedly lived on 16th street together.

Mr. Nyenswa reportedly opened the door showing in the picture and fell from that height to the barricaded portion of the floor where he reportedly died.

‘So Much Disinformation’

At De Calabash, one of the housemates recalled: “I remember a  dark car park in front Nyeswa car. It took long for the car to leave. I spoke to the owner of Calabash to call the owner to remove that car. I called Norris over ten times when I realized Barthan was downstairs but he didn’t answer. Later on, he entered the compound and drove Barthan to the hospital still breathing,” the eyewitness, who was present at the scene, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mr. Tweah, who like the housemates were close friends of Mr. Nyeswa, declined comment when contacted, stating that he is awaiting the police investigation and autopsy before saying anything publicly.

He however lamented: “There’s so much disinformation and lies but we are in the investigative stage and will speak at the appropriate time.”

“I was the last to enter so I 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., the security came knocking on my door and when I opened it I asked him “how did you enter” and he said the door was opened. When I got downstairs he was bleeding from his head and ears.”

Statement to police by Mr. Teakon Williams, Friend, who shared the house with the late Emmanuel Barten Nyeswa

‘Outrageous Lies’

Other reports suggest that Mr. Bill Twehway, Managing Director of the National Port Authority had a key to Mr. Nyeswa’s home and may have been in the know of what led to Mr. Nyeswa’s death, a claim which has been shot down by the National Port Authority.

At a news conference Wednesday, Mr. Malcolm W. Scott, Public Affairs Director at the NPA, said the accusations against Mr. Twehway were outrageous lies.

Said Mr. Scott: “The MD has never killed a fly in his life before; there is no record to that; and it doesn’t makes sense to point accusing fingers at him. The MD and the late Nyeswa were good friends. I cannot stomach that someone who has not killed a fly, for what reason would the MD would now want to take the life of a friend and friend. They had a cordial and a brotherly relationship – and under no conditions would the MD be so brave to take the life of his brother.”

Mr. Scott also dismissed reports that Logan Davis and a figure by the name of Sabato, both commanders at the NPA were somehow involved.

Mr. Nyenswua’s death follows three high-profile mysterious deaths involving government auditors.

Last week, two employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority(LRA), Mr. Albert Peters, and  Mrs. Gifty Lama were found dead in a vehicle on Snapper Hill Broad Street. Gifty was the Acting Manager for Tax Services while Mr. Peters was the Assistant Commissioner for Audit. 

Both the husband of Mrs. Lama and the wife of Mr. Peters have raised suspicions about their deaths.  

Separately, another LRA staffer, Mr. George F. Fanbutu was pronounced dead at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center on Sunday after he reportedly lost control of his steering wheel on the 72nd Boulevard, hit a pedestrian identified as Saar Fayiah and the car rested in the house of one Dr. Joseph P. K. Boika in the Roland Duo curve on the 72nd Boulevard. “George B. Fanbutu was taken at the JFK Medical Center in Sinkor, where he was pronounced dead on arrival (DOA) while the pedestrian was admitted at a local clinic in Roland Duo Community undergoing medical treatment. The investigation is ongoing,” the police said.

The government through Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie expressed shock in the wake of Mr. Nyeswa’s in a statement Saturday said the government is in utter shock and sadness over Nyeswua’s passing. 

The government maintains that the details of the cause of the death of the IAA Boss are scanty and has assured the public that once further details are established, it will be made known.

President George Weah has asked the United States Embassy in Monrovia to help with the ongoing investigation into the deaths of two staffers of the LRA as well as Mr. Nyeswa. The President said it was sad that the latest deaths are happening at a time when the country is nurturing a vibrant democracy where there’s respect for fundamental human rights.

The Liberian leader announced that he has instructed Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean to coordinate his efforts with partners of the government, including the Americans, in order to establish the cause of the deaths of the three government staffers. While expressing his sympathies to the bereaved families, the President said that “death should come naturally….anything to the contrary is unacceptable!”.

President Weah explained that he understands why some people will engage in speculations about what might have caused the unexplained deaths, but he called on everyone to “give the authorities a chance to determine the cause of death”.

President Weah has also reiterated the government’s earlier commitment to carry out an open and impartial investigation.  He said at this point, it’s difficult to know what exactly happened. “But I am working to make sure we determine what happened through the investigation..”, he said.

“I spent every weekend with him. He opened his home to friends and family; we ate breakfast. The last conversation was last Sunday when he was encouraging me to go to gym. He was the nicest guy, mot one day did he say to me that his life was under threat.”

Mr. Nyenswua, FPA has learned had recently completed audit of the Covid-19 government expenditure although that report has not been made public, it points to some mismanagement of funds, which has contributed to the widespread suspicions relating to Mr. Nyeswa’s death.

For the immediate future it appears, not much will be known until autopsies are conducted on Mr. Nyeswa, Mr. Peters, Mrs. Lama and Mr. Fanbutu, all coming within an eight-day span.

Investigative sources confirmed to FPA Wednesday that the schedule of the autopsies will be known sometime this week and two local pathologists, Dr. Benedict Kolee and Dr. Zoebon Kpadeh have been identified to conduct the autopsies.

As speculations continue to linger over the deaths of the four auditors, investigators are hopeful that the pending autopsy and subsequent report will bring some closure to the lingering state of uncertainty surrounding the deaths.

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