Circumstances surrounding the sudden mysterious death of an ex-legal consultant for the National Oil Company of Liberia or NOCAL, Cllr. Michael Allison, in Monrovia last week has become a subject for investigation by the Liberia National Police.
The late Cllr. Allison reportedly blew the whistle that has led to an ongoing corruption investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC involving Speaker J. Alex Tyler of the House of Representatives, and Montserrado County Representative Adolph Lawrence.
His body was found early Friday morning, 13 February on a local beach on 5th Street, Sinkor in Monrovia in his underwear with foam pouring from his mouth. Cause for his death, which some are blaming on suspected murder, remains unclear, but Allison, Managing Director for the BRICS Mano River Union Legal Consultants, had prior to his death in the past few days complained to friends and aides that his life was in danger.
Cllr. Alison had taken his girlfriend to the beach on Thursday, 12 February to cool-off apparently after a hectic day’s work, not realizing it could have led to his death. According to an eyewitness’ (his friend girl) account, she went out with the deceased on the beach Thursday late evening hours and after a while he (Cllr. Allison) decided to swim in the ocean.
Information gathered from the National Police Headquarters on Capitol Hill and some intelligence officers from the Ministry of Justice here, quotes the young lady as narrating that after few minutes, she saw her boyfriend (Cllr. Allison) drowning, adding that she cried out for help and the security next door came to her aid and called a Brazilian national with a speed boat to get the victim out of the water, which he did, but Allison did not survive.
The body, which was initially taken to the Samuel Stryker Funeral Home on 24th Street, Sinkor, is now in possession of the investigative team at the Liberia National Police, a source told The NewDawn.
A special press release from the Liberia National Police distributed Sunday to media houses here says the late Cllr. Michael Allison was discovered lying unconscious on the beach on Thursday, February 12, 2015.
Police say a brief case history of the event revealed that during the evening hours of February 12 at about 1800hrs. Allison and his female friend (name withheld) were walking along the beach when he allegedly told her that he was feeling warm and wanted to waste some sea water on his body. “It is further alleged that he then took off his clothes and walked into the sea at which time he allegedly got drown”, the police statement read.
According to the police, the body of the late Cllr. Allison is presently deposited at the John F. Kennedy Hospital Morgue for preservation, pending an autopsy.
The LNP’s release said arrangement is being made for a foreign pathologist to be flown into the country to conduct an autopsy, which findings will assist the police in its investigation.
The police have meanwhile appealed to the general public for any information that may assist the investigation.
When this paper contacted House Speaker Tyler via mobile over the weekend about the death of the former contractor, Speaker Tyler said, he was in a meeting and promised to call after the meeting, but failed to return the call. A follow up call by The NewDawn proved futile as his phone rang endlessly.
Also when Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue was contacted Sunday morning, this is what he said with laughter: “My son, this thing does not concern me, and I’m not part of that $25,000. So why ask me? Find those involved with the money. My problem is the $900,000, which you people (media) being abusing me for.”
The scandal comes in the wake of ongoing negotiations for sale of some of Liberia’s remaining oil blocks and discussions between the legislative branch and the National Oil Company of Liberia to ratify agreements for the sale. NOCAL came under criticism for attempt to sell oil blocks in the midst of a deadly Ebola outbreak, and the scandal drew some members of the Legislature at the center of a questionable payment of US$25,000 from NOCAL to the body for legal fees.
The Liberian Legislature in 2014, in an attempt to justify that it was acting in line with the input of citizens, carried out a nationwide consultation on draft oil laws in the emerging oil sector of the country.
The consultations reportedly cost more than US$900,000 but it is the controversy involving fees paid to lawyers, including the late Cllr. Allison, by the office of Speaker Tyler that continues to raise eyebrows.
The late Cllr. Allison and two other lawyers, one a Liberian, Attorney Vulate J. Hage, and Kwame Jantuah, a Ghanaian expert in the oil industry, were contracted by the House of Representatives to draft new petroleum bill (Exploration and Production) Act of 2013, a law to create a separate account for all revenues coming out of the oil and gas industry.
Meanwhile, the newly elected Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Senator Armah Jallah, promised to issue an official position of the senate today, Monday, regarding the death of Cllr. Allison.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor