What caused the death of Cllr. Nkrumah Michael Allison last Thursday morning at the beach on 4th Street is baffling police in Monrovia, who are bringing in a foreign pathologist to perform an autopsy to identify the cause of his death. His body was found on the beach, allegedly drowned, police said.
Cllr. Allison blew the whistle that led to the on-going investigation by the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission, (LACC), and involving House Speaker Alex Tyler. As NOCAL consultant, Cllr. Allison was expected to have received half of a US$25,000 consultancy fee from the nationwide legislative consultations regarding two draft oil bills, the NOCAL Act of 2013 and the Petroleum Act of 2013. Over US$900,000 was allocated for the Legislature to conduct said consultations.
Controversy surrounding the draft bills deepened when it was revealed that House Speaker Alex Tyler decided to pre-finance the project and made available a check in the amount of US$12,000, which piqued the interest of the LACC, who later launched an investigation into his actions.
Cllr. Allison’s body was “discovered on the beach on 4th Street on Thursday February 12,” according to a release by the Liberia National Police yesterday.
Cllr. Allison, son of the late Gray D. Allison, the most powerful defense minister in the Samuel K. Doe administration, was the head of the BRICS Legal Consultants that provide legal services for needy persons in Liberia, a source said.
A release quoting LNP director Chris Massaquoi yesterday said, “This event revealed that during the evening hours of February 12, at about 1800hrs, Cllr. Michael Allison and his female friend (name withheld) were walking along the 4th Street beach when he got drowned.
“He (Allison) allegedly told the lady in question that he was feeling warm and wanted to waste some sea water on his body.
“It is further alleged that,” Director Massaquoi said, “he (Allison) then took off his clothes and walked into the sea at which time he allegedly drowned.”
Police said Cllr. Allison’s remains are “deposited at the John F. Kennedy Hospital morgue, pending an autopsy.”
“Meanwhile, arrangement is being made for a foreign pathologist to be flown into the country to conduct the autopsy to assist the police in its investigation,” says LNP sources.
The police action supports, to a larger extent, claims in several quarters that Cllr. Allison’s death was not natural and the explanation of the “female friend” is not believable by the police, as the community has expressed utter shock about the young lawyer’s death.
Family sources told the Daily Observer that Cllr. Allison’s role as a whistleblower, revealing contents of the draft bills, made him unpopular in political circles, and though our sources could not advance information that could reveal the cause of his eventual demise, they did not rule out foul play either.
Though police are not talking or making conclusions, the position to fly in a foreign pathologist is an indication of police dissatisfaction with the explanation given by the “female friend” about Cllr. Allison’s drowning, leaving the public with mixed reactions.
Cllr. Allison’s unpopularity emanated from his disclosure of negotiations taking place by NOCAL for the sale of oil blocks, which many believe should have been suspended during the heat of the Ebola epidemic, when all efforts were supposed to be focused on the Ebola fight.
Another witness told the Daily Observer, “Cllr. Allison was a major figure in the frustration and shame that befell all those who were determined to sell the oil blocks during the worst period of the Ebola crisis.” Many expressed the view that his demise apparently originated from his role as a whistleblower.
But did he drown as the “female friend” told police? The report indicated that the couple walked on the beach on Thursday night and when he allegedly drowned, she cried for help and a Brazilian with a speedboat came to her assistance.
As family and friends and the country grapple with the cause of Cllr. Allison’s death, many appealed to the police to ensure justice for the victim.