Liberia: Mr. Ledgerhood Rennie Must Retract His Comments, Apologize to Families of Deceased Auditors

editorial

THE FAMILIES of the deceased auditors and research analyst are not happy with the manner in which the Government of Liberia is going about the investigation into the deaths of their loved ones, all of which occurred very mysteriously.

WHAT WAS even more appalling to the families was the blatant falsehood told by the government's new chief spokesman, Mr. Ledgerhood Rennie, on BBC when the world was eager to know what had unfolded in these mysterious deaths.

WHAT HAS raised concerns about the four deaths is that three of the victims were auditors carrying out audits while the one was a research analyst but working as Taxpayers Services Manager.

THERE ARE suspicions in the public and even among the family that they could have been killed because of audits they may have been working on, especially so when they all died in a space of eight days.

THIS IS WHY it was unacceptable for the new Minister of Information to have twisted the facts concerning their deaths, especially denying the fact that they were auditors when the world was listening.

MR. RENNIE TOLD THE BBC that while government regrets the mysterious deaths of four of its employees, there is no truth that the deceased were auditors.

"WHENEVER ONE of our citizens fall in such a calamitous way, we are saddened and worried by that, but it is good to clarify that the people who are being referred to as auditors were actually not auditors," he said.

HE ADDED, "They were professional Liberians working within the government at various agencies. But because of the level of their work, there has been speculation in the media about them being auditors. But actually, their remits were very different."

THE BEREAVED families, especially, their spouses, expressed dismay and demanded an explanation behind the government's chief spokesman twisting the facts surrounding relatives' deaths on the British Broadcasting Corporation.

MR. RENNIE'S comments do not only cast doubt over the genuineness of the government's investigation, but also adds insult to the agony the bereaved families are already going through.

THIS IS WHY he must not leave his comments as it is. He needs to clarify and apologize.

SAYING THEY were not auditors, to us, is a clear manifestation that the government is not considering all the real issues surrounding their deaths.

MR. ALBERT PETERS who was discovered along with Mrs. Gifty Asmah Lama in the back seat of his car without his trouser early this month, had been an internal auditor for all of his 23 years of work. He was Deputy Head of Internal Audit the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment; Head of Internal Audit at the defunct First International Bank; Head of Internal Audit UBA, Chief Internal Auditor Ministry of Finance, UNDP second head of Internal Audit at Finance and later at Public Works and Health Ministries under the the Internal Audit Agency Formulation.

MRS. GIFTY Lama, prior to her demise, was transferred as Manager for Taxpayers Services after serving as a Research Analyst for years.

THE LRA's Taxpayers Services generates the bill in all LRA systems for the payer to take to the bank for Deposit. They input all manual receipts from all LRA collectors in the various counties.

PRIOR TO MOVING to that department, Lamah worked in the office of the LRA Commissioner-General, in the policy division. She was involved with the compilation of all the revenue figures from all across the country, which would then be analyzed and published on the LRA's website.

MRS. LAMA graduated from the Stella Maris Polytechnic in the top 5% of her class. She was known to be very sharp, hardworking and brilliant.

EVEN MORE critically, she had very few friends and was viewed by church members as having very strong principles and core values.

GIFTY WAS A 2019 Mandela Washington for Young African Leaders fellow.

When the US Embassy in Monrovia announced her selection as a Mandela Fellow, it posted a comment from Gifty in which she expressed pride that she and her team were able to use a data mining process to unearth businesses that under-declared their respective gross sales - their work to fight fraud recovered over a million dollars for the people of Liberia following a prompt audit. "Gifty serves as a mentor to youth within her community and has helped some of them pursue undergraduate degrees at various universities within Liberia," the Embassy posted.

GEORGE F. FAHNBOTO was a professional auditor, who previously worked in this capacity at the General Auditing Commission and at the Ministry of Finance before joining the LRA in the large tax division. He died in a car crash two days after the Mrs. Lama and Mr. Peters bodies were discovered.

EMMANUEL BARTEN NYESWA, who died last Saturday, was a certified fraud examiner. He added the Internal Audit Agency (IAA). He also worked at various financial institutions before heading the IAA.

A LOT OF MYSTERIOUS deaths have occurred in this country and bereaved family members are yet to get justice.

MANY LIBERIANS TODAY are living with the misery of losing their loved ones in the 14-year of senseless war. They see the killers of their relatives passing to and fro almost every day. Some victims are being compelled to serve the very persons that either killed or instructed the killing of a relative and they continue to yearn for justice.

WE CANNOT CONTINUE to have a situation where citizens would continue to live with an anguished heart and mind. We cannot continue to condone senseless killings and allow perpetrators go with impunity. We cannot continue to make our country unsafe and scare investors away.

WE DO NOT NEED a rocket scientist to let us know that there is something mystical about the deaths of the auditors. The circumstances surrounding their deaths point to it. All we need from this government is a true and an honest investigation that would ensure justice for the deceased and bring relief to the hearts of the bereaved families. This government must commit to ensuring justice and refrain from making comments that would derail the investigation.

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