The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a local construction firm, Pealat Construction Company, Praise Tony Lawal, has been arrested by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) for alleged assassination attempt on the life of a Liberian businessman, Samuel Benedict Cooper.
Mr. Lawal, a former Nigerian ECOMOG soldier, according to police spokesman Sam Collins, spent Wednesday night behind bars at the Liberian National Police Headquarters on Capitol Hill, awaiting police questioning in connection with the alleged assassination attempt.
Unknown gunmen last Saturday morning opened fire at Mr. Cooper’s vehicle while he was returning to his residence in Fish Market Community, a Sinkor suburb of Monrovia.
Mr. Cooper, owner of Westwood Construction Company, was reportedly blessed, because the bullets that riddled the front windshield of his car didn’t hit him.
An associate of Mr. Cooper, Eric L. Bracewell said the Liberian businessman was fired at twice by the unknown men, while returning home on Saturday morning.
Eric narrated that Mr. Cooper’s vehicle windshield was damaged by shots fired at him, adding, “We have been assured that the perpetrators of this barbaric act will be brought to justice.”
Mr. Bracewell, also a business partner of Mr. Cooper and proprietor of Mandee Construction Company, disclosed that prior to the incident, Cooper had received threats on his life from an anonymous texter.
Prior to the shooting incident, Mr. Lawal had launched stern media attacks on Mr. Cooper, he further claimed.
According to him, the Nigerian was behind negative propaganda falsely linking Westwood Construction Company to incomplete projects in Lofa County, and trying to defame Cooper’s character.
Mr. Bracewell noted that to frustrate or eliminate Westwood Corporation from competing for road projects, which have been exclusively reserved for foreign companies, the asphalt plant recently imported by Mr. Cooper was tampered with, and the electrical wires cut by unknown persons.
The President of the Association of Liberia Construction Contractors (ALCC), Mr. Foday Kamara, said there has been disagreement between some Liberian-owned construction companies and foreign owned companies favored by the Government in getting contracts.
He said rivalry companies are fussing over the awarding of contracts by the Government of Liberia. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor – Edited by Jonathan Browne