Monrovia – Last Friday, residents and passersby of the upper broad street district were awoken to the stunning news of two dead Liberia Revenue Authority Employees found in a car on Broad Street.
The preliminary impression that was conveyed was that the two employees, Mr. Albert Peters and Mrs. Gifty Asmah-Lama were probably having an affair in the car when fumes from containers of gasoline may have caused their death.
Further reviews and analyses of the events leading to the discovery of the two bodies however leaves more questions than answers in terms of the probable causes of death in addition to the exact circumstances on how they died.
Albert Peters – The Uncompromising Auditor
Interviews with several friends, co-workers and relatives debunk the idea that the late Mr. Peters was having an affair with Mrs. Lama on Broad street at prime time in the morning in a district with significant activity, with many stating that the details aren’t just adding up.
Professional Associates and long-time friends of the decease are outrightly questioning the authenticity of this narrative.
“Like him or hate him, the one consensus judgement about Albert Peters is that he was one hell of an uncompromising auditor,” a friend who has known him for more than thirty years, told FrontPageAfrica Sunday.
Said the friend, who chose anonymity because he may be called as a witness in the investigation: “He(Albert)held an impeccable record spanning many years in banking, then at the Ministry of Finance before moving to the Internal Audit Agency and finally the Liberia Revenue Authority. He was reputed for being tough and thorough in his audit investigations, and a role model for many young public sector auditors in the field.”
LRA Mum on Probe Report
The late Albert’s strong investigative and auditing background is a key reason conspiracists, relatives and friends are fearing that the pair may have been murdered at a different location and taken to the Snapper Hill scene of the discovery of the corpse.
One family source told FPA that Albert was conducting an internal audit at the LRA prior to his death and was upset with the finding and had told friends that he would pass the information on to the press.
Alvin Jask, Communications Supervisor at the LRA told FPA when contacted that the entity could not comment on the matter because the investigation is still ongoing.
Friends who knew the late Albert for the best part of the last thirty years, speak of a professional of the utmost integrity and thus the narrative the public was made to believe just cannot be the case.
Deceased Families Knew Each Other
Another colleague, aiding the investigation, said the notion that the pair where making out in the car and died on the scene of the discovery simply makes no sense. “Are you telling us that a top level staff of the LRA would choose to elope with another staff who everyone in his department refers to as his professional daughter and that they would do it at no time but mid-morning on broad street!. No! That is not possible.”
Many recall the late Albert’s mentorship of young auditors and professional under his supervision.
From his days in the Audit Field to Banking to Fiscal Affairs and finally Tax Services, Albert mentored many young people – and one of them happened to be Gifty.
“Gifty was like a daughter to him. He saw her as a young protégée,” the source explained.
Gifty was known to Albert’s family and her spouse knew him and workmates indicate that there was nothing to suggest an unhealthy social relationship.
Church members also remember the devout Episcopalian who was an active member of the St. Augustine Episcopal Church in Bardnersville.
Albert served as Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee of his church and was an outstanding member of the congregation. He was never a back bencher.
Super Intelligent Gifty
Prior to joining the LRA, Gifty graduated from the Stella Maris Polytechnic in the top 5% of her class. She was known to be very sharp, hardworking and brilliant.
Even more critically, she had very few friends and was viewed by church members as having very strong principles and core values.
One of her friends in sharing her grief made clear that it could never be their GIFTY lowering her principles in that manners. That was just unthinkable.
Gifty was a 2019 Mandela Washington for Young African Leaders fellow.
When the US embassy in Monrovia announced her selection as a Mandela Fellow, it posted a comment from Gifty 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.
Crime Scene Mystery
For now, many remain puzzled at the timing of the pair’s death and the scene of where the bodies were discovered.
Bystanders and passersby pondered last Friday, if it is supposed to be believed that the exact venue of the occurrence was where these two young people met their untimely death, then why are they following not in place?
A key concern: The trousers of the deceased male is unaccounted for. Up to the moment when the bodies were transferred to the mortuary of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Albert’s trousers was not in the car, according to a family member.
The family member pondered: “Where was it? Why was it not in the car? Is it being implied that Albert left his house with no pants on?”
In addition to the trousers being unaccounted for. Albert’s bag containing a laptop and very sensitive documents, is also unaccountable for.
More importantly, the family is concerned about what happened to the bag? “Wasn’t it supposed to be in the car, assuming that’s the place the crime took place?
Albert’s family confirmed that he left home Thursday morning with his laptop bag. They are now asking why hasn’t the bag found in the car?
Even more strange is the fact that Albert’s phones are also missing.
Surprisingly, up to late Saturday, Albert’s phones were reportedly still on, begging the question, who has his phones and why were they not on the crime scene?
Additionally, why was the back doors of the car locked and only the front doors opened?
One family member pondered: “Who does that? Leave your front doors opened but lock the back doors of a vehicle you are supposed to being performing inappropriate acts in.”
Workmates in the office where the pair worked insist that they were never lovers but rather portray Albert as one who was very concerned about all his staff and took active interest in their wellbeing mindful of the pressures and tension that came with the work at times. “It was certainly the same with Gifty who they all noted he had a father daughter / big brother small sister professional relationship with,” the source said.
As the investigation lingers, police sources informed FrontPageAfrica at the weekend that Albert’s wife, Beatrice Andrews Peters, is a person of interest in the mysterious death of her husband and his workmate, Mrs. Gifty.
Mrs. Peters is reportedly helping the police understand how she got in possession of her husband’s car key before turning it over to the police.
According to police, Mrs. Peters was said to be the first to have discovered the bodies in the vehicle. Her husband was discovered in his boxer pants, however, his trouser is yet to be found. The police have requested for call logs of the deceased through the County Attorney office.
The bodies have been deposited at St. Moses Funeral Pallor and an autopsy would likely be conducted, the police source said.
Eyewitness Screamed “Jesus!”
Eyewitnesses who viewed the bodies Friday morning 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.
Peters wife who discovered the car Friday morning and burst into wailing said she and her husband left the house together Thursday morning at about 6:30 A.M.
She said when they last spoke, he told her he was going to see a friend at the UBA Bank on Broad Street.
She said she then decided to drive around Friday morning in search of him since he did not return home, neither did he take her calls.
For members of both families, the mystery is confusing. Said one family member: “If the police is looking for an easy motive they missed it.”
In fact, the family member said Mrs Peter’s like any concerned spouse who had not seen her husband went out that morning to the bank and Snapper Hill Clinic where he would take medical treatment at times. “It is while on their way to Snapper Hill that her daughter spotted Albert’s car and alerted both her mother and the relative who was driving them. It was this relative who approached the car first just as Mrs Peter’s was getting out of her car. When the gentleman opened the driver door, he screamed JESUS!! Mrs. Peter’s then rushed to the car. It was her driver who took the keys to Albert’s car which was still in the ignition.
The family source said when Moses Awosweh, a staffer at St Moses arrived on the scene, the keys were given to him and It was he (Moses)who turned it over to the police, informing them that he received it from her.
The families are encouraging the police to look deeper into the case.
The death of Albert and Gifty mirrors a series of unexplained deaths in recent years, marred by investigations that have come up empty.
In March 2018, Matthew Innis, Deputy Director for Micro-finance in the Regulation and Supervision Department at the Central Bank of Liberia, was killed by in alleged hit-and-run accident along the 72nd Boulevard Road.
Like Innis, foul play was suspected in the death of Michael Allison’s death, the son of former Defense Minister, Michael Allison. Some friends and associates claimed that Allison had complained to friends that his life was in danger.
One 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.
Similarly, during the reign of late President Samuel Doe, soldiers 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.
With so many unexplained deaths in a short space of time, many remain baffled as to why authorities continue to come up empty.