Liberia: Family of Murdered 29-Year-Old Man to Sue Ministry of Health for Refusing to Show Deceased Grave
Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
Paynesville – Family members of a murdered 29-year old man identified as Wulah Massaquoi has threatened to take the Ministry of Health to court if it fails to show the grave of their deceased relative within three days.
At a news conference on Wednesday, July 29, the family, led by the eldest brother Joseph Massaquoi, explained that his brother was discovered dead in the Red Hill Community in Paynesville on Saturday, July 25, but by the time the family was informed, he had already been buried by the Ministry of Health.
Massaquoi said when the family contacted the Ministry of Health, it acknowledged removing the body from the community and burying it at the Disco Hill Cemetery in Margibi County.
But the Ministry, he said, is demanding US$35 to show the grave after two weeks.
“They only showed me picture of his body with severe cuts and the place where he was lying. But we did not see the body by the time we reached there. We asked and they said the Ministry of Health’s burial team came and took the body because it was spoiling [decaying].”Joseph Massaquoi
When contacted, a spokesperson of the Ministry could not confirm or deny the allegation but promised to respond pending consultation with her bosses.
According to Joseph Massaquoi, Wulah earned his living by riding a commercial motorbike. Prior to his death, he had complained that his bike was stolen, and had launched a search to retrieve his bike. But when he left on Friday, he did not return alive until news of his death emerged.
After he was informed that his brother’s body was found in the community, Massaquoi said he went on the crime scene but was told that the Police and the burial team from the Ministry of Health had taken the body away.
Said Massaquoi: “They only showed me picture of his body with severe cuts and the place where he was lying. But we did not see the body by the time we reached there. We asked and they said the Ministry of Health’s burial team came and took the body because it was spoiling [decaying].”
According to him, the family has met the Chief Police Investigator at the police headquarters, but nothing has been done to launch an investigation into the crime.
FrontPageAfrica was unable to reach Police Spokesperson Moses Carter for comments as his phone rang with no answer. Also, Carter did not respond to text messages.
Meanwhile, one of the brothers of the decease, Peter Massaquoi, joining the press conference via mobile phone from the United States, said the Ministry of Health’s hasty decision to bury an unknown body without any attempt to find the relatives was unprofessional and a calculated plot to conceal evidence into the gruesome murder of his brother.
“We are giving a three-day ultimatum against the Ministry of Health to show our brother’s grave or else we will go to court,” Peter Massaquoi warned.
“We will institute lawsuit against the Ministry of Health. Per the Liberian law, after a person is murdered, there should be something called discovery. The Ministry of Health, through the Liberia National Police, did not do any discovery. They only received call from some kind of community Chairman that we did not know about and acted upon that.”
Massaquoi, speaking further, stressed that the Liberia National Police was not up to the task in ensuring Justice is served. He called on the Police to live up to its responsibilities by ensuring those behind his brother’s death are brought to justice.