The Rev. Father James Sellee, Rector of Monrovia’s St. Thomas Episcopal Church, in a powerful sermon at Harry Greaves’ funeral yesterday, lamented the “mysterious way” in which he died. “There is,” Fr. Sellee lamented, “too much evil and hatred in our society today. Too many innocent people are being killed, and this must stop! Let us start loving one another and become a nation and people of peace.”
That was Fr. Sellee’s first warning. In his second warning, which came partly as a consolation to the Greaves family, he urged them to take heart and not to worry, because the people who are killing innocent people will one day be exposed. He reminded the bereaved family of what God said in the Bible: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”
The third warning was to people in power anywhere, and indeed to all of us on this earth: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.” The Rector did not add the rest of the quote from Galatians 6:7, with which most of us are familiar: “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Fr. Sellee’s fourth warning was that “All power is from God and it will one day end. And everyone under God must be held accountable.”
He described Harry Greaves as a good man who loved and cared for his family, loved and worked hard not only for his country, but also for his church—St. Thomas. Part of working hard for his country was revealed by the management of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), which Harry served from 2006 to 2009. In their tribute, delivered by Deputy Managing Director Jackson F. Doe Jr., they said Mr. Greaves had met little over US$100,000 in the LPRC account. On his retirement, he left US$15 million in the company’s account.
Like most Liberians, and we suppose everyone around the world that came to know and work with Harry Greaves, Fr. Sellee asked why should such a good man die the way he did. Harry was not only an excellent accountant and financial manager, but an excellent writer. Following his retirement, he treated the public to an incisive weekly financial column in the Daily Observer, which everyone appreciated.
Father Sellee must have been reflecting the perception most Liberians have—that Harry did not simply drown, as the government-sponsored autopsy report indicated. As we have said many times, the Liberian government has itself to blame for this perception, because of the bungled manner in which it handled the investigation, if there was one at all. That was the point from which Harry lost his life.
On Friday, January 28, 2016, at around mid-day, Mr. Greaves was driven by his driver Flomo to the RLJ. Late into the evening, Mr. Flomo got concerned that he had heard nothing from his boss. So Flomo called, but the phone was switched off. Flomo became desperate and scared. He immediately proceeded to the Sinkor Airfield residence of Mr. Greaves and his wife, Precious Andrews Greaves. She directed her Business Manager to go along with Driver Flomo to the RLJ in search of Harry.
They could not find him anywhere.
The family knew or heard nothing until Sunday morning, when a body that looked like Harry’s was found on the Atlantic beach near the former Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs. Mrs. Greaves was invited by police to identify the body which, to her utter shock and disbelief, she found to be that of her husband’s.
What happened thereafter should have been an immediate and thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to Harry’s death. The natural place to have begun was the RLJ Resort where he was last seen and which he last visited. Unfortunately, no such investigation was announced, so the public was left to its own imaginations and perceptions. Then the government announced another alarming revelation—that the security cameras at that modern resort had not been working since July 2015. That placed the Liberian public in another quandary (catch 22), and the speculation and suspicion of what might have happened to Harry heightened, going even wild.
How was it possible that that could have happened? You mean the hotel proprietors and managers were not concerned about their own security and assets? No one believed that.
The government’s next blunder was its choice of pathologists to do the autopsy—the same group that did the autopsy on 12 year old Angel Tokpa, and stated, to the consternation and disbelief of the Liberian public, that the molested child had committed suicide!
All of these actions thrust a vast cloud of suspicion over the whole tragic episode, with fingers pointed, legitimately or illegitimately, at the government. Somebody somewhere in or around the government had to know something that no one was saying or divulging. Then suddenly, the government, without first announcing that an investigation of its own was underway, disclosed that it had asked the United States government to send two American criminal investigators to “help” with the investigation into Mr. Greaves’ death.
Harry has been laid to rest and the bereaved family now has his funeral behind them. But the mystery surrounding his demise will linger for a long time to come—until, as Fr. Sellee said yesterday, God Himself reveals the truth of what really happened to Harry.
May his soul rest in eternal peace, and may God comfort and strengthen the family, especially Harry’s young children, who have now, for reasons they may never understand, been deprived of a loving, caring, highly respected dad.