Did E. Barten Nyeswa, Liberia’s chief of internal audit, really fall to his death?
“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action,” wrote British author Ian Lancaster Fleming, author of the twelve-part James Bond series of spy novels. The quote comes from “You Only Live Twice”, the final book in the Bond series. We borrow this apt quote from the late Fleming, who was also a journalist and a British Naval intelligence officer, to learn a thing or two about the wave of mysterious deaths of ranking financial professionals in the Liberian government’s employ.
The death of Emmanuel Barten Nyeswa, the Director-General of Liberia’s Internal Audit Agency, one of the nation’s integrity institutions, appears to have hit a high note, first by being the third auditor and the fourth financial professional dead in eight days; and also by further cementing public suspicions that all the deaths are murders with a common thread.
Enemies or friends?
Nyeswa, who was pronounced dead by health authorities at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Monrovia early Saturday morning, reportedly suffered from a fall from a narrow doorway on the top floor of his home along the SKD Boulevard.
According to our source, that night, Nyeswa had entertained three male friends and a female at his home. Another source mentioned that the head of another autonomous government agency also visited Nyeswa that night. Because we could not reach this individual for comment, the official’s name is being withheld.
Though it remains unclear who all visited Mr. Nyeswa and what all transpired at his home up to the alleged fall that happened up to 3 a.m. that night, the scene appears to be screaming with clues incongruous to the prevailing narrative that he may have fallen to his death.
Door to his death
There is a narrow door at the top floor above the entrance of the house, from which Nyeswa is believed to have fallen. It is not the width of a normal door, but about half the width. Someone the size of Nyenswa would have needed to turn sideways to pass through that door.
Moreover, outside that door is is a ledge with barely enough space for his feet — and then an instant drop — meaning that there is no porch or platform or even a banister to protect one from falling. This is clearly something Nyeswa would have known about his dwelling place, which begs questions about what may have caused him to venture out there at that height and at that time of the morning. Was he running or hiding from someone?
And even if he went out on the ledge on his own volition, the chances of him falling to his death from a height of not more than 15 feet will depend on whether he attempted to jump or was pushed; or perhaps he was killed and then thrown from that height.
A source told the Daily Observer that, due to the potential danger of injury by falling, many items were packed behind that door from the inside to prevent any possibility of such danger. Yet, one can only wonder why such a door existed in what appears to be a beautifully built home.
Surveillance cameras out of order?
The late Nyeswa’s abode sits on approximately one lot along the SKD Boulevard, with a backyard entrance on the boulevard and front yard entrance on a side street. The place was teeming with residents of the community, as well as professional colleagues and commercial motorcyclists who showed up to catch a glimpse of the scene where the IAA bossman met his demise. Just following daybreak Saturday, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah visited the scene and reportedly burst into tears. By the time she arrived, however, Nyeswa’s corpse had been moved from the scene to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The house features at least eight external surveillance cameras, which cover all angles of the exterior and the yard, including a swimming pool in the front. One of the cameras even points toward the mysterious door where he reportedly fell from. However, a source close to the man of the house was seen crying with indignation when it was disclosed that the cameras were out of order.
Inside the yard, people sat in wonder and bewilderment, gazing at the circle of jerry cans and beer crates that were arranged to mark the spot where Nyeswa’s body was found.
By 10 a.m. Saturday, a man wearing the uniform of the presidential guard, Executive Protection Service (EPS), and who refused to disclose his name to journalists present, began to restrict access and photographs on the premises. Apart from him, there was only one other man wearing a Police uniform.
Mr. Nyeswa previously served as Deputy Executive Director for Audit before being appointed by President George M. Weah in 2018 to the helm of the IAA.
At his appointment to the helm of the IAA, his credentials came under fire, primarily from the ranks of the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA), who contended that the head of the IAA should be nkne other than a CPA. But Emmanuel B. Nyeswa, being a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Tax Accountant and Public Debt Auditor, with more than two decades of solid experience working in the Accounting profession, remained unmoved by his critics.
He is credited with a certificate of Appreciation by the Internal Revenue Service of America and the State of Rhode Island for teaching tax law and providing Income Tax Return Services for residents of the State of Rhode Island in the United States of America.
Mr. Nyeswa is survived by his wife and children who, according to our source, currently in the United States.