The dead include the head of the Internal Auditing Agency, Emmanuel Barthen Nyeswa, who was reportedly leading a team looking into the government’s handling of Covid-19 funds.
Nyeswa’s body was found beneath his balcony on October 10, just eight days after the bodies of two other senior auditors, Albert Peters and co-worker Gifty Lama, had been discovered in Peters’ vehicle in the busy banking district in the capital, Monrovia.
Nyeswa’s family described the senior civil servant as a man who fought tooth and nail to assist the government in clearing its payroll of ghost workers.
They described Nyeswa’s death as ‘sudden and tragic’, adding: ‘He was selfless; spent a lifetime of service giving back to the people of Liberia.’
The other dead auditors, Albert and Gifty, both staffers of the government revenue department, known as the Liberia Revenue Authority, were also said to have been engaged in the audit of government accounts at the Central Bank when they met their end.
A large crowd of curious people gathered as police removed the bodies to a hospital and then to a mortuary.
Confused and grieving familymembers including Peters’ wife Beatrice and Gifty’s husband Sylvester cited foul play and accused state security of initially denying them access to the bodies.
‘They were murdered,’ Sylvester Lama told the radio phone-in show 50-50.
‘And our request for an independent autopsy has been denied.’
When Lama insisted an independent autopsy be done on his wife’s body, the government said that Lama would have to foot the $30,000 bill.
His inability to pay meant government-hired pathologists conducted the examinations.
The police’s preliminary investigation into the deaths had barely progressed when news broke that another staffer of the revenue department, George Fanbutu, had been killed in a car crash in the eastern suburbs of the capital.
Police said it was a normal road accident.But a Facebook post that went viral immediately after the incident quoted eyewitnesses as saying the man had been attacked with machetes by two menchasing him on a motorcycle.
Conspiracy theories surrounding the deaths of the four men have been heightened by the government’s failure so far to release the outcome of autopsies done on the bodies.
Police spokesman Moses Carter said it was going to take two weeks to release the reports to the public.