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Are Liberia’s Internal Auditors being murdered?

14 October 2020, Lennart Dodoo, FPA
Are Liberia’s Internal Auditors being murdered?

Liberia: Head of Internal Audit Agency Found Dead at Home; 4th Auditor-Related Death in 8 Days.

Mr. Emmanuel Barten Nyeswua, Director General, Internal Audit Agency was found dead at his 72nd Boulevard residence last Saturday morning. He is the fourth auditor to have died in a space of eight days in Monrovia.

Circumstances surrounding his death remain scanty, but according to reports, the incident occurred at about 2 am Saturday morning after he had left D’Calabash, an amusement spot along the Congo Town backroad where he had been with friends until he went home after midnight.

The Liberia National Police barricaded the entrance of his residence on Saturday and prevented reporters, family and friends entry until they could complete a forensic investigation within the compound.

The police, however, could not explain the cause of death but stated the possibility of a fall from an elevation.

Circumstances surrounding Mr. Nyenswa’s death remain strange. While it is believed that he fell from the top floor through a window of his one-storey building and died instantly, others also believe that he may have been aggressively pushed from the top floor which is about 30ft from the ground, but the police say they are investigating the cause of death and would keep the public abreast.

At his residence, one of his drivers informed FrontPageAfrica that he dropped Mr. Nyenswa and his friends off at his residence at about 12 midnight on Saturday and they left the compound. However, at about 3am, he was again called that his boss had fallen from upstairs prompting him to rush back to the house and transported him to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. He said he observed a cut behind his head but could not confirm whether it was as a result of the fall.

The driver revealed that he left Mr. Nyenswa and his friends at his residence prior to his demise but could not name the friends. He, however, said some were employees of the IAA.

FrontPageAfrica has also not been able to establish names those who were regular residents with Mr. Nyenswua in the compound and all those present at the time of the reported fall.

FrontPageAfrica also observed several CCTV cameras amount at various strategic corners of the building but has not been able to establish whether the cameras were active and could serve as an empirical material in the investigation.

Mr. Nyenswua, FPA has learned, had recently completed audit of the Covid-19 government expenditure although that report has not been made public. He was said to have been conducting audit on the National Port Authority, also.

On Saturday evening the Communications Director of the Internal Audit Authority, Mr. Adolphus Kawa issued the following press statement:

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press; fellow Liberians.

It is with great sadness and utmost grief that the Internal Audit Agency of Liberia confirms the death of its Director General, Hon. Emmanuel Barthan Nyeswa. The Management of the Internal Audit Agency is working closely with the Government of Liberia to ascertain probable cause of death.

Meanwhile, we express our regret and deepest condolences to the wife of Hon. Nyeswa, Mrs. Rebecca Dine-Nyeswa, the kids, the bereaved family and the staff of the IAA.

Out of respect for the family’s privacy at this difficult time, we have no further public comment, but will continue to work closely with the Government of Liberia, through the authorities concerned, to provide all possible assistance to whatever process that will unearth probable cause of death.

At this point, we encourage the public to refrain from any form of speculation which could further deepen the wounds already created for the family. We urge our internal auditors to exercise calm and refrain from any form of fear-mongering, as we extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved family of Hon. Emmanuel B. Nyeswa.

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.

Mr. Sylvester Lama, Gifty’s husband says he suspects foul play over the death of his wife.

Speaking in an interview with reporters at the St. Moses Funeral Parlour on the Somalia Drive, outside Monrovia last week, Mr. Lama criticized the decision taken by authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to deny him and other family members the opportunity to view the remains of his beloved wife on two separate occasions signifies a “foul play” over circumstances which led to the death of his wife.

He expressed disappointed over the decision taken by authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to deny him and other family members the opportunity to view the remains of his wife on Broad Street and at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center shortly after the pair were pronounced dead.

Mrs. Peters, for her part has dismissed suggestions that her husband was in relationship with Gifty, debunking theories which followed the pair’s death. “Gifty was considered our daughter as she has been so used to my husband, and I cannot tell when I suspected her and my husband in sexual relationship,” the widow said.

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 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. Investigation is ongoing,” the police said.

However, talk show host Henry Costa released a video late last week, alleging that Mr. Fanbutu was invited to the home of one of his bosses to help me do some work and he honored the invitation on Sunday. According to Costa, while on his way home along the 72nd Boulevard, Mr. Fanbutu was chased by men on motorbikes with machetes. One of them opened the driver’s door and gushed the LRA employee on his head, leading him to lose control of the steering wheel.

The video showed Mr. Fanbutu bleeding profusely from his head which was being tied with a cloth by some citizens on the scene who rushed to his rescue. When contacted again to confirm Mr. Costa’s revelation, Police Spokesman Moses Carter said the only account he can give is that which he was told by the accident survivor who is currently seeking treatment.
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