31 January 2016

Liberia: Murder or Suicide? Mystery Clouds Harry Greaves Death

Photo: FrontPage Africa
Carrying the dead body of Harry Greaves, former managing director of the Liberian Petroleum Refining Company.

Mr. Harry A. Greaves Jr., according to sources was dropped off by his driver at the RLJ Hotel off the Robertsfield highway sometime Friday. The former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company reportedly instructed his driver to wait for him, that he would be right back.

As the night lingered, investigators say, Mr. Greaves did not return from the hotel. The driver, investigators say reportedly slept in the car until the next morning.

Investigators told FrontPageAfrica Sunday that the next day, some of Mr. Greaves belongings were found on the beach behind the hotel as search commenced for his whereabouts.

Mr. Greaves' wife and family were reportedly notified that he had gone missing since Friday as police mounted a search for the former LPRC boss's body to no avail.

FrontPageAfrica received news late Saturday night that Mr. Greaves had gone missing. Phone calls placed to Mr. Greaves cellular number went on answered. By 10am Sunday, when another called was placed on the number, a man picked up the phone and when asked whether Mr. Greaves was around, replied: "Mr. Greaves is indisposed at the moment".

FrontPageAfrica later gathered that the man who picked up Mr. Greaves' phone was an investigator at the Liberia National Police where Mr. Greaves belongings found on the beach, including his cellular phone, were in the possession of the LNP as part of an ongoing investigation.

A few minutes later, FrontPageAfrica received a tipoff from a senior government official that a body had been found miles away from the RLJ hotel, at a beach behind the ministry of Foreign Affairs, a few kilometers from where the body of Cllr. Michael Allison was discovered last year.

Cllr. Allison, was a former consultant to the National Oil Company of Liberia, who was reportedly aiding the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission(LACC) probe a corruption scandal.

A pathologist was brought in from neighboring Sierra Leone to determine the cause of death which was later determined to be death from drowning.

A female friend of Mr. Allison told investigators at the time that the two of them had gone to the beach "around late evening hours," when Allison decided to swim in the ocean. A few minutes later, she said, she saw him drowning.

As friends, family and well-wishers descended on the beach where Mr. Greaves' body was discovered Sunday, speculations similar to that of Cllr. Allison's death filled the air.

Police initially prevented journalists from viewing the body as several armed police officers formed a barricade meters away from the body of Mr. Greaves, only allowing immediate family members to get close to the corpse.

A little after 12 midday, Police Director Chris Massaquoi arrived and instructed investigators to cover the body of Mr. Greaves.

Police Spokesman Sam Collins later told reporters that the body had indeed been identified as Mr. Greaves. "The Liberia National Police through the bureau of public affairs can confirm that the body found on the beach is that of former Managing Director of the LPRC Mr. Harry Greaves. The Circumstances surrounding his death is being investigated. His wife and family members identified the body. We will continue to update the public as we get more information."

FrontPageAfrica has been able to obtain a close-up photograph of the lifeless body from an eyewitness who arrived on the scene earlier and was among the first people to discover the body. Visible wound marks can be seen on Mr. Greaves' face, chest and the right side of his stomach.

Ironically, investigators remain puzzled as to how Mr. Greaves belongings were found on the beach side at RLJ off the Robertsfield highway while his body showed up miles away in Monrovia behind the seat of the Liberian presidency.

Mr. Greaves, was one of the key supporters of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and was instrumental on the campaign trail of Sirleaf's 2005 presidential bid. Mr. Greaves stepped down as economic advisor to the then chair of the National Transitional Government of Liberia(NTGL) to support Sirleaf's candidacy. Shortly after Sirleaf's election, Mr. Greaves was named Managing Director of LPRC.

In Sept. 2009, Mr. Greaves was dismissed by President Sirlelaf based on an investigative report submitted by the Henry Reed Cooper Committee. The committee was set up to probe reports of flaws, illegality and lack of transparency surrounding a contract that Mr. Greaves, through LPRC arranged with a firm called Zakhem. Mr. Greaves' reign at LPRC was marred by controversy surrounding a Nigerian oil deal in 2006..

Since his exit from government, Mr. Greaves remained vocal on issues. In September last year, he led several Liberians in a protest at the Capitol Building against the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, calling for the withdrawal of the regulatory power given to the Ministry by the Liberian Senate in the recently enacted 2015 Electricity bill in Liberia.

In a petition addressed to House Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Greaves urged members of the House to debate a clause in the bill which calls for the regulatory commission to be housed by the Lands, Mines and Energy Ministry.

Mr. Greaves death, like his life remains clouded in controversy. A senior police official told FrontPageAfrica Sunday that an autopsy will likely be carried out on the body in the coming days.

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