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Editorial

Mathew J. Innis’ death raises too many questions

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Circumstances that led to the death of the Central Bank of Liberia Deputy Director for Micro-finance, Matthew J. Innis, on Saturday, 2 March in an alleged hit and run accident along the Samuel Kanyon Doe Boulevard near his residence in 72nd community, barely three days after the release of findings into investigations of the alleged missing 16 billion Liberian banknotes and the US$25 million infused in the economy to mop up excess liquidity raise more questions than answers.

The late Innis, who directly served in the Regulation and Supervision Department of the CBL, was poised to testify as a witness in ongoing investigation of several staff of the Central Bank, including former Executive Governor Milton Weeks, Deputy Governor for Operations, Charles Sirleaf, who is son of ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Director of Banking, Dorbor Hagba, among others in perhaps the biggest scandal ever in Liberia.

According to initial reports from family sources, he left home on Saturday, strangely for work, something that was viewed as uncommon and did not respond to calls from his family at home the entire day. Suddenly at about 2:00 early Sunday morning, the family was hit with news of his death in a hit and run car accident not too far from his residence.

The body of the late Innis was reportedly discovered near his car with bruises on his face and arm, dressed in a pair of shorts and a muscle t-shirt, without any damage to his vehicle. Police then turned over his personal effects such as a laptop, mobile phone and others to the family, reports detailed.

According to report, the police had immediately taken the body to ELWA Hospital along the Robertsfield highway before the family was contacted by unidentified group of men believed to be community residents.

Suspicions abound particularly among members of the family how Matthew Innis died, with some suspecting he may had been murdered elsewhere and his body dumped by his car near his residence, indicating he was involved in an accident, purportedly a hit and run, as the alleged vehicle involved is reportedly on the run.

Some questions being raised in the public are: Why would Matthew, poised to testify in a major financial scandal involving his past and current senior bosses from his place of work, be reported killed in a hit and run accident, especially at an odd hour (2:00 A.M.) Sunday, having left for work a day earlier? Why he did not respond to phone calls the entire day before, even up to news of his death the next day? Why is own car not damaged or why would he had disembarked from his car at such hour, being alone to become victim of a hit and run accident? Is it that he knew more about the LRD16 billion and the US$25 million saga and suspected culprits wanted him silenced before the actual trial starts? Did he in fact, report for work on Saturday, 2 March at the CBL, and when did he leave for home? Are files in his office at the CBL still intact? What was the last call he made or received, and who was involved? These are just but few of the questions in the public regarding Matthew Innis’ death amid a major criminal investigation.

Reports say police are reluctant to speak on the situation since the alleged ‘hit and run’ accident occurred on the SKD Boulevard early Sunday. Family members are being prevented from taking possession of the body, pending an autopsy.

Matthew Innis’ death reminds us of two suspicious deaths of high profile individuals during the administration of Ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – the late Harry A. Greaves, Jr. and the late Cllr. Michael Allison. Greaves, who suddenly became a bitter critic of Madam Sirleaf after having served in her administration as Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, was found dead off the shores of Monrovia early Sunday, 31 January 2016 behind the former Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, while Cllr. Allison’s body was “discovered on the beach on 4th Street on Thursday February 12, 2015”, according to the Liberia National Police.

The late Cllr. Allison reportedly blew the whistle that led to a corruption investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC, involving former Speaker J. Alex Tyler and Montserrado County Representative Adolph Lawrence, among others about funds from the National Oil Company of Liberia or NOCAL.

As investigations on the newly printed 16 billion Liberian Dollars and the US$25 million kick off in Monrovia, we can but only hope the suspicious death of Matthew J. Innis, a staff of the Central Bank of Liberia, who was reportedly set to testify in court, has no connection whatsoever with the financial trial, as this could open a fresh can of worms.

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