The Gov’t of Liberia Releases Full Autopsy & Investigative Reports on Auditors’ Deaths

By Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean

PRESS STATEMENT

September 25, 2020: Members of the Fourth Estate,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Today, the Ministry of Justice is releasing investigation findings into the deaths of Gifty A. Lama, Albert Peters, Emmanuel Barten Nyesaw and George Fabhboto, who died on the 2nd, 4th and 10th of October, 2020, respectively.

GIFTY A. LAMA AND ALBERT PETERS

Gifty A. Lama and Albert Peters left their West Point and Barnesville residences, respectively, during the morning hours of Thursday, October 1, 2020 and were not seen by relatives until their unresponsive bodies were discovered in the early morning hours of Friday, October 2, 2020. They were found in a blue 2011 Toyota Highlander jeep, bearing license plate number: A5 12984, later established to be owned by Albert Peters. They were both confirmed dead by doctors at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center on October 2, 2020. Consistent with volume 1, title 2, chapter 7 of our Criminal Procedure Law, the Coroner of Montserrado County having declared their deaths suspicious, the Ministry of Justice ordered that postmortem examinations/autopsies be performed on the remains.

POLICE INVESTIGATION

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

1. That on the morning of Thursday. October 1, 2020, the two individuals drove separate vehicles; Gifly 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 12984, 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 Spoilage Jeep was parked in front of the Totyota Highlander from the early morning hours of October 1, 2020, up to and including the early morning hours of the next day, October 2, 2020. At some point, Gifty A. Lama is said to have disembarked her vehicle and joined Albert Peters in his blue Toyota Highlander jeep.

2. That on October 1, 2020, beginning at 8:08 up to 8:40 am, several calls are registered between Gifty A. Lama and Albert Peters from and to several locations, including the Goodridge (Barnesville Estate), Vai Town and Water Side, Monrovia.

3. That the call logs, generated from data gathered by the Ducor and Masonic Craft Towers of the two cell phone companies, placed ‘the two individuals on Broad Street, in the vicinity where their vehicles were discovered, from about 10:37 am on the morning of October 1, 2020 up to 5:53 am, the next morning of October 2, 2020.

4. That though calls placed to the individuals’ phones in the Broad Street vicinity began at 10:37 a.m. on the morning of October 1, 2020, they reportedly arrived on the scene before 10:37 am, as the Monrovia City Corporation Parking Attendant for the area confirmed placing tickets on the two vehicles on October 1, 2020 at about 9:00 am; and further observed that both vehicles remained in their positions until 7:00 pm on October 1, 2020 when he left work.

5. That the Parking Attendant reportedly noticed the vehicle in which the two individuals were sitting overheating; the engine and the air-conditioner were on, with the windows covered with steam. He is said to have approached the vehicle at 11:00 am and engaged in an exchange with Albert Peters, at which time he told Albert Peters that his vehicle was overheating. The Parking Attendant further indicated that he tried to collect the parking fee from Albert Peters, but Albert Peters told him to close his car door. He observed that Mr. Peters’ eyes were red and mucus flowed from his nose.

6. The Parking Attendant confirmed that after 12:00 mid-day, he observed that the car in which the individuals were sitting was still in the location, but the engine was off. He left work at about 7:00 pm.

7. That the car washer and private security guard from the Progressive Protection Service (PPS), assigned in the area, confirmed seeing the vehicles parked in front of the former BIVAC office on Broad Street from the morning of October 1, 2020, until they (car washer and private security guard) left work at the close of the business day.

8. That during the early morning hours of Friday, October 2, 2020, at about 2:00 am, two individuals, known to police as petty thieves, entered Albert Peters’ vehicle and stole one laptop, four telephones, a pair of trousers containing US$30.00 and some personal belongings.

9. That the two petty thieves confirmed encountering the unresponsive bodies of Albert Peters and Gifty Lama in the vehicle, but concluded the individuals were intoxicated.

10. That the two petty thieves and individuals to whom they sold the items have been duly charged and are awaiting trial.

A search of the interior and inspection of the undercarriage of the vehicle revealed the following:

1. That the vehicle contained, among other things, two five-gallon plastic containers, filled with gasoline.

2. That the interior of the vehicle showed multiple holes under the back seat about two (2) centimeters in diameter.

3. That the under surface of the said vehicle showed multiple leaks on the exhaust system proximal to the catalytic converter, between the catalytic converter and the muffler and other areas distal to the muffler.

4. That there is a large defect on the dorsal surface of the exhaust system about one foot away from the area of the backseat.

RELEVANT AUTOPSY FINDINGS

Computer Tomography (CT) Scan

Post mortem total body Computer Tomography shows mild purification of the brain and mild autolysis of the soft tissue. There is 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 are 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.

CAUSE OF DEATH

1. a. CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING EXACERBATED BY GASOLINE!

HYDROCARBON FUMES

b. FUMES FROM DEFECTIVE CAR EXHAUST SYSTEM/DEFECT IN THE FLOOR OF THE CAR.

Conclusion by the pathologists, “In our professional and expert opinion, based on the available evidence, the manner of death is unnatural (accidental)”.

The autopsies were performed, reports prepared and signed by:

Dr. Benedict B. Kolee, Bsc. M.B., ChB MGCP and

Dr. Zoeborn B. Kparteh, BSc, M.D. MGCP, MWACP (Path)

PATHOLOGISTS

The autopsies were observed by representatives from: WIPNET, JFL, News Public, Heritage Newspaper, Frontpage Africa, The News, Inquirer, FEJAL, Liberia National Police. Ministry of Justice, the Coroner, Independent National Commission on Human Rights, RCI/Truth FM 96.1 and INJL-Press.

THE DEATH OF EMMANUEL BARTEN NYESWA

During the early evening hours of Friday, October 9, 2020, Emmanuel Barten Nyeswa was observed at the Calabash Entertainment Center, located on the Congo Town Back Road, with some friends. He is said to have consumed drinks containing alcohol and later left for home. He reportedly arrived at his 72nd Paynesville residence at approximately 11:00 pm and proceeded upstairs to his bedroom. Later during the night, his security guard found him lying downstairs unconscious, with blood flowing from his left ear. The escape door from his room upstairs was found opened. The distance from the escape door elevation to the ground measures 13.1 feet.

The deceased was rushed to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center Emergency and seen at 2:49 AM on October 10, 2020, where he was diagnosed with severe head injuries. According to medical records from the JFK Medical Center, he started gasping for air at 3:40 AM and following 20 minutes of unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him, he ceased breathing and was declared clinically dead at 4:00 AM on

October 10, 2020.

Consistent with volume 1, title 2, chapter 7 of our Criminal Procedure Law, the Coroner of Montserrado County having declared the death suspicious, the Ministry of Justice ordered that post-mortem examination/autopsy be performed on the remains.

RELEVANT AUTOPSY FINDINGS

Massive injuries to the head, chest and abdomen.

No metallic density foreign body found.

CAUSE OF DEATH

1. Massive haemorrhage;

2. Multiple bony and soft tissue injuries; and

3. Blunt injuries consistent with fall from height.

Conclusion by the pathologists, “In our professional and expert

opinion, the manner of death is unnatural. Further classification of

this unnatural death as accidental, homicidal or suicidal will require

further police detective investigations”.

The autopsy was performed, report prepared and signed by:

Dr. Benedict B. Kolee, Bsc. M.B., ChB MGCP and

Dr. Zoeborn B. Kparteh, BSc, M.D. MGCP, MWACP (Path)

PATHOLOGISTS

The autopsy was observed by representatives from: WIPNET, JFL, News Public, Justice Forum Lib., Red Power L 00.3, The News, Inquirer, FEJAL, Liberia National Police, Ministry of Justice the Coroner, Independent National Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-religious Council, and the Family.

THE DEATH OF GEORGE FAHNBOTO

The deceased, George Fahnboto, was observed driving a maroon Nissan Frontier pickup, bearing license plate number A60952 on Sunday, October 4, 2020, on excessive speed in the direction of the 72nd Community.

At about 5:30 pm, George Fahnboto ran into a speed breaker in the Roland Duo curve, lost control of his vehicle, struck a pedestrian and landed in the garage of Dr. Joseph T. K. Boaka’s private residence, about 200 feet from the road. He sustained injuries and was rushed to the JFK Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Consistent with volume 1, title 2, chapter 7 of our Criminal Procedure Law, the Coroner of Montserrado County having declared the death suspicious, the Ministry of Justice ordered that post-mortem examination/autopsy be performed on the remains.

RELEVANT AUTOPSY FINDINGS

Injuries to the head, chest and abdomen

No metallic density foreign body

CAUSE OF DEATH

Right frontal cerebral contusion and disruption of brain, with haemorrhages; Right frontal complex depressed comminuted fracture;

Vehicle in head on collision and side impact with house; and Road traffic accident.

Conclusion by the pathologists, “It is our professional and expert opinion, the manner of death is unnatural (accidental)”.

The autopsy was performed, report prepared and signed by:

Dr. Benedict B. Kolee, Bsc. M.B., ChB MGCP and

Dr. Zoebom B. Kparteh, BSc, M.D. MGCP, MWACP (Path)

PATHOLOGISTS

The autopsy was observed by representatives from: WIPNET, JFL, News

Public, Justice Forum Lib., Red Power 100.3, The News, Inquirer,

FEJAL, Liberia National Police, Ministry of Justice, the Coroner,

Independent National Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-religious

Council and the Family. -End-

The autopsy was observed by representatives from: WIPNET, JFL, News

Public, Justice Forum Lib., Red Power L 00.3, The News, Inquirer,

FEJAL, Liberia National Police, Ministry of Justice the Coroner,

Independent National Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-religious Council, and the Family.

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