Liberia: Husband of Dead LRA Employee Says His Wife’s Remains Had Bruises; Slams Government’s Autopsy Report

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MONROVIA – Mr. Sylvester Lama, the husband of the late Gifty Lama, who was found, along with Mr. Albert Peters, dead in a vehicle on Broad Street on October 1, 2020, has rejected the autopsy report provided by the government. The state-sponsored autopsy concluded among others that the two Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) employees died from Carbon Monoxide.

Presenting the report, Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean said the pair died as a result of inhaling Carbon Monoxide from gasoline/hydrocarbon fumes and fumes from defective exhaust system in the floor of the car.

Appearing on a local radio morning program on Sky FM 107.1, Mr. Lama said, “Bruises on the remains of his wife that I saw at the funeral home, suggest that she was tortured.” According to him, the report provided by the Minister of Justice has too many contradictions that misrepresented the facts.

 “My family and I have sued all those connected to the death of my wife, to God. The wrath of God will visit them and they will never have peace. That report is a trash; we know we cannot fight because the report is from the Ministry of Justice; we cannot fight. I am saying this without fear even if it’s going to cause my life I don’t care.

“I will not stop talking until I get justice. My wife didn’t die naturally, neither was she ill or involved in accident. Our two kids– five and two years old– are not old enough to understand what has happened to their mother everyday they asked me where is mommy? Has she gone to work?”

Lama said people who think that his continued call for justice is a way to politicize the death of his wife are evil-minded people. He added: “We are frustrated and this issue is not something we the family will sit quietly.”

He told the radio show’s host, T-Max Jlateh, that when the bodies were discovered in the vehicle, he, his father-in-law and other relatives were not allowed to see the body. “The police denied us even after I identified myself as the husband,” he disclosed.

“At St. Moses Funeral Home, where we were allowed to view the body, that was where we noticed that she has bruises on her body. Even the man at the funeral home confirmed it after I raised concern that my wife’s body was different and it didn’t look like her. He said to me, ‘bruises were all on her body.’

“When I saw my wife, I couldn’t identify her, I asked the embalmer is this my wife? He said ‘Yes’. There were too many bruises. I could only identify her by the hair. There are lot of contradictions in the autopsy report released by the Justice Minister.”

He thinks that the justification that the two people died as a result of suffocation is a lie. According to him, the two grownups will not embrace death. “Nobody should tell us the people died as a result of suffocation. They were not kids to allow themselves to die in a car. We had plans as a family; she knew the value of life; my wife didn’t embrace death,” he maintained.

“My family and I have sued all those connected to the death of my wife to God. The wrath of God will visit them and they will never have Peace. That report is a trash, we know we cannot fight because the report is from the Ministry of Justice and we cannot fight. I am saying this without fear and favor even if it’s going to cost my life I don’t care.”

– Mr. Sylvester Lama, Widower of Gifty Lama

He called on the Police to release the vehicle of his late wife which they still have in their possession and their personal belongings.

“They Police still have my wife’s car and laptop. We are calling on them to turnover my wife’s car and other personal belongings.”

The report

The autopsy report of the late Albert Peters and Mrs. Gifty Lama and the police investigative report   concluded that the two employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) both died as a result of inhaling Carbon Monoxide from gasoline/hydrocarbon fumes and fumes from defective car exhaust system in the floor of the car.

The LRA duo were discovered dead in the back seat of a car on Snapper Hill, Broad Street, Monrovia during the morning hours of October 1. Mr. Peters was discovered without his trouser on.

Both of them had gone missing almost 24 hours prior to the discovery of their remains in the vehicle.

Upon the request of the bereaved families, the government initiated an autopsy which were conducted by Dr. Benedict B. Kolee and Dr. Zoeborn B. Kparteh.

According to the autopsy report, post mortem total body Computer Tomography showed mild purification of the brain and mild autolysis of the soft tissue. There was no fracture or dislocation, no metallic density or foreign body.

The following samples were taken for full toxicology (Alcohol, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, common poisons, drugs, heavy metals) and findings derived are:

Blood: Alcohol                                                        Not detected

Blood: Carbon monoxide                                        Positive

Blood: Hydrocarbon                                               Positive

Liver: Common poisons/drugs                               Not detected

Gastric Content: Common Poison/drugs               Not detected

Kidney: Heavy metals                                             Not detected

The above findings were applicable to Gifty A. Lama and Albert Peters,

Except for acidic drug detected in the liver and gastric content of Gifty A. Lama, attributed to a prescription drug.

The Police Report

An examination of the Lonestar MTN and Orange call logs of the deceased, statements provided by relatives and individuals in connection with the incident, revealed the following:

That on the morning of Thursday, October 1, 2020, the two individuals drove separate vehicles; Giddy A. Lama drove a KIA Sportage Jeep, with License Plate number A45 181 , while Albert Peters drove the blue 2001 Toyota Highlander, bearing License Plate number: A5 1 2984, in which the unresponsive bodies of the individuals were found. The two vehicles were later. Observed parked immediately behind one another on Broad Street, opposite the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church edifice, in front of the building which formerly housed the offices of BIVAC. The KIA Sportage Jeep was parked in front of the Toyota Highlander from the early morning hours of October 1, 2020, up to and including the early morning hours of the next day.

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