Liberia: ‘A Politically Motivated Liar’

 EPS Director Trokon Roberts.

— EPS Boss Decries Accuser

EDITOR’s NOTE: On Thursday, February 24, the Daily Observer published the account of Augusta Seonegbae Tarwin, an officer of the Liberia National Police (LNP) who claims she was assaulted by the Director of the Executive Protection Service (EPS), Trokon N. Roberts. Officer Tarwin, in a written complaint to her boss, the Inspector General of police, narrated that while investigating the seizure of seven bags of condemned rice at her assigned depot, EPS Director Roberts walked in and demanded that the rice be turned over to one Miatta Nyema without any investigation. Officer Tarwin alleged that Roberts later ordered his bodyguards to drag her (Tarwin) out of the station and place her at the back of a vehicle.

Before publishing Madam Tarwin’s allegations, the Daily Observer reached out to the EPS for comment, but could not get a response. That was until the weekend, when we received the following statement from the EPS, detailing what they believe are the facts. For the sake of clarity, we’ve inserted the EPS statement below, verbatim:

When a police officer shuttled from one media institution to another to accuse Director Trokon N. Roberts that he authorized a few of his agents to flog her, little did the world know that all she has said was a fabricated lie for reason(s) best known to her.

This lie prompted the Executive Protection Service (EPS) to express utmost consternation at the unwarranted peddling of outlandish and false claims of “brutality” as being carried in some media corridors.

The former long-time United Nation security officer, Trokon N. Roberts, is a man of good demeanor and has good human rights record to his credit and that there is no way he would dump all of that credibility in the dustbin of history due to the unwarranted action of a police officer who seemed to be a politically motivated liar.

An EPS press release noted that Director Trokon Roberts believed that every human being is entitled to his or her human rights and dignity and that nothing or no position in life can make deviate from his lifetime principles, adding that he cannot fathom why this lady and her enablers fabricated such diabolical lie to tarnish his hard-earned reputation.

The EPS said what all the police lady had explained to the media is nothing but concocted lies. “God in heaven knows that I did not authorize any flogging and that nobody flogged her. She had torn her own 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.

Augusta, in a written complaint to her boss, the Inspector General of police — narrated that while investigating the seizure of seven bags of condemned rice at her assigned depot, the director of the elite presidential guard, Trokon Roberts, walked in and demand that the rice be turned over to Miatta Nyema without any investigation and later ordered his bodyguards to drag Augusta out of the station and place her at the back of a vehicle. The assaulted police officer is the commander of the Crime Services Division of the Depot-5, police station in Schiefflin Town, Margibi County, and also worked at the Robert International Airport. 

“While the investigation into the matter was ongoing, to my dismay, the Director of the Executive Protection Service, Hon. Trokon Roberts went to my assigned headquarters with six well-armed men and a lady and ordered me to turn over the condemned rice that was arrested,” Augusta wrote in a complaint to police IG, Patrick Sudue. 

"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,” she 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. During a preliminary investigation conducted with suspects Miatta Nyemah and Mary Johnson,  they voluntarily admitted that the rice in question was unwholesome but got it from a lady at the Freeport of Monrovia.”

However, the EPS emphasizes that it is of serious concern that it continues to provide more facts on the allegations levied against Mr. Trokon Roberts, Director of the Executive Protection Service (EPS), by the Police Crime Service Division Commander at the RIA Depot 5, Margibi County, and Augusta Tarwin.

The EPS press statement added that “today, we have agreed to provide pieces of pictorial evidence to the public to prove her wrong as she continues to widen the torn mark on her trousers. The allegations that Director Trokon Roberts ordered his men – EPS Agents, in full view of other police officers and bystanders to drag the female officer is a blatant lie and far from the reality.”

Pictorial evidence in the possession of the EPS is a clear indication that Officer Tarwin tore [her own] trousers to support her lies. There is no point in the pictures being paraded by Madam Tarwin. Where are bruises on her skin to show that he was brutalized and dragged?

The blouse she wore was never torn as her blouse buttons remained un-removed though she had also alleged that her blouse was ripped off by EPS agents. The torn part on her trouser that she is posting on the media also defeats her argument of being brutalized by EPS agents.

One of the photos showed that the trouser was slightly torn on the side. And then another of her photos showed it being widely torn. So when was the trouser slightly or widely torn? That is a question many in the media are not considering. All of these are chicaneries of Madam Tarwin to besmear the reputation of the EPS director.

The EPS said Director Trokon N. Roberts was a victim of Madam Tarwin’s diatribe, wondering how could a security officer not only render such callous disrespect to her superior but rain verbal insults at him. The EPS boss said that his working experience within the UN system had taught him how to become tolerant to anyone behaving rudely. He said he was surprised that the lady, who offended him, was the first to run to the press to file a complaint.

While explaining what transpired that day, the release said: one of the officers told Augusta that in a cultured and professional environment “you don’t address your superiors or elders with your hands in your pockets”. “This doesn't show respect”.  The officer reminded Augusta as he sought to get her attention to the fact that she couldn’t be speaking to her superior with her hands tucked in her pockets.

In her resistance, Officer Tarwin, there was an argument for a few seconds and she became lousy and went aflame. 

As indicated, the pictures will show that the officer was never dragged. If she was, where are the bruises? Where is the video or pictorial evidence?

We would like to challenge those who are falsely accusing Director Roberts to provide more evidence so that the public can make their judgment.

The EPS reassures that Director Roberts will continue to provide for various fundamental rights, including the rights to life, human dignity, personal liberty, privacy, freedom of expression and the press, freedom of assembly, and association.

As per his professionalism, he is duty-bound to ensure that the rights of citizens guaranteed under the Liberian Constitution are protected at all times, including during peaceful protest.

Director Roberts has earned rave reviews from professionals within the security corridors and the larger Liberian society as a man of honor who places a high premium on upholding human dignity and will do nothing to undercut efforts to promote a culture democracy through the respect for fundamental human rights.