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Police mess up crime scene

-as victim’s husband cries foul

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Liberia’s Police Inspector General Col. Patrick T. Sudue admits that officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) contaminated the crime scene of two deceased employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) whose corpses were mysteriously found in a parked vehicle early Friday morning on Snapper Hill, Broad Street.

It is yet to be established what led to the deaths of victims Albert K. Peters, LRA’s Internal Auditor and Gifty A. Lamah, a Research Analyst at LRA. Col. Sudue appeared at the press conference at the Police Headquarters Monday, 5 October with a flying sheet to address the public concerning the death of Albert and Gifty.

What message was contained in his flying sheet could not come clear until the police chief began taking questions from the media and subsequently admitting that the crime scene had been contaminated.

His response was based on a question as to 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 states that “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….,” Mr. Sudue claims.

He explains that what normally should have happened was that the person that was on board should have been extracted, the police should have had an ambulance available and put the people on the ambulance and drove on.

He blames 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 explains.

“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 continues.

According to him, the LNP investigators did not want to conduct their investigation in the public, narrating that it was because of that they took the decision to drive the vehicle to the John F. Kennedy (JFK) hospital to make sure the unconscious people are attended to.

He recalls 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 says police dispatched officers on the crime scene and took the unconscious people in the vehicle to JFK where the occupants were pronounced dead upon arrival.

He adds that the two bodies were taken to the St. Moses Funeral Parlor for further preservation, noting that Montserrado County coroner is conducting an inquest in the presence of the deceased’s families after which a report will be furthered to the Justice Ministry requesting an autopsy if the need be. Over the weekend, police authorities said they had begun investigation into the death of Albert K. Peters and Gifty A. Lamah.

The death of the duo has left the country in shock, as many are wondering what may be responsible for the incident. However, the widower of the late Gifty A. Lama, Mr. Sylvester S. Lama, suspects foul play in the death of his wife.

Speaking to Journalists on Monday, October 5, at the St. Moses Funeral Home in the Monrovia suburb of Somalia Drive, Mr. Lamah narrated that when the family received the death news of his wife and he personally went on the scene along with his father-in-law, they were prevented from seeing his late wife’s body, even at the hospital.

According to him, he and his late wife constructed a house in Brewerville City, behind Moulton Corner in Montserrado County but due to distance constraint, they decided that she and the children should spend the entire week in Monrovia and go home during weekends, which had been ongoing up to her mysterious demise.

He reveals that late Mrs. Gifty Lama and her father had an arrangement to use her car early Thursday morning, 1 October but he called her without response, despite repeated attempts to get in touch with her.

He continues that at about 2 A.M. Friday, 2nd October his sister-in-law dialed the Lone Star MTN number of the deceased and a strange male voice answered, saying ‘you will see her tomorrow in a car’ and then off the phone. Mr. Lama calls on the government to speedily investigate the mysterious death of his wife to ensure justice is served.

He adds that he and his wife usually spent Sundays together at their Brewerville residence during weekends, so claims that they were on separation are far from truth. According to him, prior to her sudden death, his wife served as Acting Manager for Tax Service at the LRA, and was promised to assume the position formally after two months’ probation, something that was never realized up to her death.

‘’Prior to the incident, my wife complained of too much politics at the job [site] something that was delaying her promotion at her job’’, he discloses, and laments: ‘’my wife was the only source of income for the family, since I’m not working.’’

The mysterious deaths of the duo, who worked for the same entity is the biggest riddle to occur under the three years rule of the George Weah administration that the Liberia National Police will have to unraveled as the country becomes tense with political violence ahead of midterm senatorial elections in December.

By Ben P. Wesee By Bridgett Milton–Editing by Jonathan Browne & Winston W. Parley

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