Accessibility links

Liberia Seeks US Help to Investigate Death of Prominent Citizen

  • James Butty

FILE - Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf arrives at the Capitol to address lawmakers in Monrovia, Liberia.

FILE - Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf arrives at the Capitol to address lawmakers in Monrovia, Liberia.

The Liberian government said it has asked the United States to assist in the investigation of the mysterious death of Harry Greaves, former managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company, whose partly decomposed body was discovered January 31 on a beach near Monrovia.

Greaves, a Liberian citizen, had been politically active in the past and had recently been critical of the current Liberian government led by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

A U.S.-based pathologist has determined the cause of death to be drowning. But Liberians have been demanding to know the manner of Greaves’ death.

Information Minister Eugene Nagbe said the Liberian government has asked for U.S. assistance in the investigation because it too wants to get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding the death.

“We are doing this because we ourselves as a government want to know the actual circumstances leading to the death of Mr. Greaves, and we want to bring finality to this situation,” he said.

A letter said to be written to the acting U.S. Ambassador to Liberia by Liberia’s Justice Minister and attorney General Benedict Sannoh and published in the local FrontPage Africa online publication indicates President Johnson-Sirleaf’s own interest in the Greaves death.

“The President, Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has expressed the desire to have an independent, credible and transparent investigation in to the circumstances leading to the death of Mr. Greaves and has directed me to exhaust the possibility of the Government of the United States of America conducting this investigation with the support of the Liberia National Police,” part of the letter said.

Information Minister Nagbe said Liberian government officials have had a series of meetings with the Americans but have yet to receive a formal response.

Meanwhile Nagbe said the Liberian government is continuing its own investigation because it considers the Greaves death suspicious.

An autopsy done by a team of U.S.-based pathologists led by Doctor Thomas Bennett concluded that Greaves died from “asphyxiation by salt water drowning”.

The autopsy report said “there is no gross evidence of ante mortem traumatic injuries”.

Still, there have been many theories, including whether Greaves was murdered because of his political activities.

Another is whether Greaves’ body might have been tampered with before the autopsy.

Nagbe said the investigation into the death is ongoing and the Liberian government has been transparent all along.

Nagbe said some of the unanswered questions will be resolved once the toxicology results expected from the St. Louis University Toxicology Department are finalized.

He said some of the rumors being circulated about the circumstances surrounding Greaves’ death are being peddled by those who want to gain political capital.

Show comments