Liberian authorities have indicated they will conduct a second autopsy on the body of a prominent lawyer and corruption whistleblower Counsellor Michael Allison.
His naked body was discovered February 15 on a beach in the capital, Monrovia.
Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh said a second autopsy was necessary due to increasing public interest in the case.
Allison reportedly had a role to play in the ongoing corruption investigation allegedly involving the speaker of the Liberian House of Representatives.
Daniel Allison, a family spokesman, said the Allison family has been joined by friends and others in calling for a forensic investigation. They don’t believe he died from drowning.
“From the family end, we woke up one morning and learned that our brother cousin passed away. We were shocked because we considered it as mystery, and so we’ve been calling for an investigation of how he died. So far, the first autopsy was conducted without involving us. We felt that the whole situation was foul play and so we’re craving for an investigation into the true cause of his death,” he said.
Soon after Allison’s death, the government flew in a Sierra Leonean pathologist to conduct an autopsy.
“We have received that report (the first autopsy) and we are expecting the second pathologist over the weekend to conduct the second autopsy,” Sannoh said. “As soon as the report is complete, the information will be made available to the public.”
Daniel Allison said the family was never told about the first autopsy or involved in it. They first heard about it over the local radio.
“We were not informed. We just heard it over [the] radio and later we were informed by the police. We put it to them and they said, according to the law, it was not compulsory for the family to be there. But, as he made that revelation, we were not pleased with it because we thought that any autopsy that was to have been done or conducted on our cousin and brother the family had to be consulted,” he said.
He said the family is confused because they have been told the findings of the first autopsy, and now they are being told of a second one, confirming their fears the death of their cousin was the result of a foul play.
“In fact, not only we the family alone, but many concerned friends and relatives of the late Michael Allison, want a forensic investigation to determine the true cause of death because we, as a family, don’t believe that our brother and cousin died from drowning,” he said.
He Allison’s body remains in the possession of Liberian authorities and the family has not been allowed to see it.
One report said Allison had complained to friends that his life was in danger.
Daniel Allison said the Counsellor Allison was a nationalist and an advocate for social justice.
“Like all other Allison’s here in Liberia, decency of character is what actually we embody and [the late] Allison was a nationalist who, against all odds, chose to do the right thing. We understand that he blew [the] whistle and complained to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission. So, Allison was a decent man and an advocate for social justice, an advocate to see that the whole idea of corruption was put to a stop,” he said.