-After weeks of controversy
Family of the late employee of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Gifty Asmah-Lama whose body was found in a parked car along with a dead male workmate Albert Peters in broad daylight in Monrovia on October 2, 2020 announces funeral and burial ceremony for the departed relative.
The late Gifty Lama was Manager for the Taxpayer Service Division of the LRA up to her mysterious death with a colleague in circumstances Police investigators are yet to establish.
According to an announcement signed by widower of the deceased Sylvester Saye Lama, beginning November 5, 2020 at 6pm a candle lighting occurs at the venue where the bodies were discovered, upper broad street to be followed by wake-keeping on 6 November at West Point football field after which funeral follows on 7 November at F. D. Walker Memorial Temple of the Church of Pentecost in Clara Town, Bushrod Island.
Mr. Lama says the Ministry of Justice contacted the family to take delivery of the body after an autopsy conducted by the Government of Liberia to establish cause of the victims’ death. Result of the autopsy is expected in the next two week, according to Police.
The late Gifty was a member of the Church of Pentecost in Liberia, where she served in many capacities, including deaconess, youth leader, financial secretary for the youth ministry and internal auditor for the entire Church, respectively. Before her mysterious death, she also served as a YALI fellow to the United States.
The widower had earlier said the family would have boycotted the autopsy due to lack of trust in the system and that it would just wait for the government to turn over his late wife’s body to give her a befitting burial.
On October 19, 2020 the State, through the Ministry of Justice conducted autopsies on the remains of four Liberians, including Gifty and her workmate, who died mysteriously.
Addressing a news conference subsequently after the incident, Liberia’s Police Inspector General Col. Patrick T. Sudue conceded that officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) contaminated the crime scene where both corpses were mysteriously found in a parked vehicle on the early morning of Friday, 2 October on Snapper Hill, Broad Street.
The Police IG’s response was based on a reporter’s question why police officers drove the car in which the two LRA employees’ bodies were found instead of towing it or lifting it from the scene to protect the evidence.
Col. Sudue explained, “This is what we call contamination of the crime scene.”
“Look I must say publicly that there was some errors on the crime scene but those errors on the crime scene were not significant as to destroying the evidence that we had….”
According to him, what normally should have happened was that the bodies should have been extracted from the parked vehicle, and the police should have had an ambulance available to take the corps to hospital.
He attributed the police’s failure to follow these steps on a huge crowd that gathered on the crime scene to witness or report the incident. “But again we had a lot of people there…, look we respect the dignity of everybody, there were lot of people there with gadgets on. People wanted to record and all like that,” Col. Sudue added.
“So looking at that aspect of taking the people out of the car that was unconscious, we deemed it necessary that what we would do let them just remain on board and someone drive the vehicle to the next point,” Sudue continued.
He recalled that the LNP received a call on 2 October indicating that a parked vehicle opposite the Cathedral Catholic Church on Broad Street had two persons believed to be on board and unconscious.
Immediately, he said police dispatched officers on the crime scene and took the unconscious bodies in the vehicle to JFK Medical Center where the occupants were pronounced dead upon arrival.
In subsequent reaction, the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) where both deceased worked up to their deaths expressed shock and mourned the discovery of their bodies.
A day or two later, another government audit was reportedly involved in a car crash, resulting death followed by the death of the Head of the Internal Auditing Agency Emmanuel B. Nyenswas, who reportedly died as a result falling from a first floor of his residence, bringing the total deaths to four, less than a month.
By Bridgett Milton– Editing by Jonathan Browne