Liberia: ‘LNP Has No Authority to Investigate EPS Boss’

Trokon Roberts, the Director of the Executive Protection Service. 

— As police Say they lack authority to investigate, Rep. Solomon George claims that the elite presidential guard director had apologized to the victim.

The Liberia National Police has claimed that they lack the authority to investigate the director of the elite presidential guard, Trokon Roberts, for allegedly assaulting a mid-ranking female police officer.

The police, via its spokesman, disclosed that EPS Director Roberts cannot be investigated for the fact he is a presidential appointee. However,  the police later claimed that it is the Ministry of Justice, which has the authority to probe officer Augusta Tarwin's allegation. 

“The head of the Executive Protection Service [the elite presidential guard] is a presidential appointment and cannot be investigated by the professional standard division of the police since the case is outside of its jurisdiction. Only the Ministry of Justice handles that such case.,’’ said LNP spokesman H. Moses Carter.  “The Minister of Justice, Musa Dean, can investigate and make recommendations to either the police, if need be, or to the President.” 

When asked whether the police have informed the Ministry of Justice about the incident, Carter said the police is an interagency part of the police, so the MOJ is most likely to look into the matter, but the EPS boss cannot be investigated by the LNP.

Carter’s statement comes after the police had called Augusta Tarwin on February 23, for questioning and evidence gathering regarding her allegation. Augusta is the commander of the Crime Services Division at Depot-5 police station in Schiefflin Town, Margibi County, and had accused the EPS director of physical and verbal assault in the presence of her colleagues and bystanders last month. 

However, Director Trokon has denied the allegation — claiming that his accuser is a liar with a concocted story. 

“God in heaven knows that I did not authorize any flogging and that nobody flogged her. She had torn her trousers only to make the public believe that she was assaulted.  If her workmates on the scene chose to support her lies, the Almighty God in heaven will judge all of us someday,” Roberts said in a statement denying the allegation. 

The EPS boss added that he was the victim of Tarwin’s diatribe, wondering how could a security officer not only render such callous disrespect to her superior but rain verbal insults at him.  But Roberts’ denial, according to Tarwin, has left  her wondering why the EPS boss called her a liar but is yet “begging to let go of everything.” 

Augusta claimed that the EPS boss after the incident openly begged her in the presence of Representative Solomon George of Montserrado County District #7 at Tropicana beach, during a settlement meeting.

She however claimed not to accept Trokon’s apologies and asked that LNP should handle the matter: “one more lie against me from the EPS boss, he will know. You cannot be begging undercover  and yet, you are in the public painting me bad.”

Roberts Apologized? 

Meanwhile, Rep. George has admitted that during the settlement meeting, Trokon Roberts issued an apology to Augusta Tarwin and pleaded with her to let go of everything and make peace.

“He [Trokon] said to Augusta, ‘I am not here to judge you. I am here to apologize to you for whatsoever that took place,” Rep. George told the Daily Observer while quoting Trokon.  “‘I am very sorry but I didn’t instruct my boys to manhandle you.  Please forgive us.  He said it in my presence."

Rep. George used the time to extend an apology to Augusta and her family and asked that she embrace peace. However, Rep. George has rejected claims that he was asked by Trokon to set up the meeting since he knew Tarwin’s family.

“I heard on the air that the EPS boss had manhandled somebody. I said it cannot be Trokon Roberts, so I called him to find out and he explained what happened. But he didn’t give any instructions to me,” the lawmaker added. 

Case History 

In a written complaint to her boss, the Inspector General of police, Officer Augusta Tarwin narrated that while investigating the seizure of seven bags of condemned rice at her assigned depot, the EPS director walked in and demanded that the rice be turned over to one Miatta Nyema without any investigation.

“I attempted explaining to him (Roberts) what was unfolding, [but] he ordered his bodyguards in an aggressive mood to forcibly put me in the back of a vehicle,” Tarwin said. “During the process, they manhandled me and tore my clothes in the presence of my co-workers and bystanders on the premises of the police station.” 

Upon submitting her letter to the police IG, the Professional Service Division of the LNP requested her to make a verbal complaint to investigate the matter, which she did but now the police are telling her that they are unable to investigate the matter.    The police lack of investigation into the Augusta case is just one of few cases on record where women in the employ of state security organizations were allegedly physically abused by their male colleagues or superiors, with no redress. 

Augusta’s claim of abuse comes a few months after the Montserrado regional commander, Joshua During, was accused of sexual assault and rape by a female patrol officer. During, who has been disrobed from the police, allegedly abused his junior officer at the headquarters of the LNP in Monrovia. And while he has denied all allegations linking him to the crime, authorities of the police are yet to provide information on the status of the investigation which started in November of 2021.

 Before then, Sergeant Rebecca Nimley was mercilessly assaulted by the now disrobed Maryland County Police Commander Jacob Comehn.  She then sustained several bruises on her face, after she tried to inquire from her boss why her landlord was placed behind bars.  The incident, which took place in April of 2021, is yet to be forwarded to Court; neither has the result of the investigation been made public.