This newspaper’s attention is drawn to mounting public concerns about the delayed investigation into the death of CBL employee, Matthew Innis, who was reportedly killed in a hit and run motor vehicle accident. It can be recalled that this newspaper in its March 5, 2019 edition carried a story headlined “Mysterious Death of Matthew Innis Leaves Heightened Suspicion of Foul play”.
According to the story, the mysterious death of Central Bank official Matthew Innis in what is alleged as a hit and run accident had left more questions than answers and heightened suspicions of foul play. The story noted that the death of Mr. Innis bears a haunting familiarity to that of the mysterious death of former LPRC Managing Director, Harry Greaves.
Matthew Innis, was said to have left for work on Saturday, March 2, 2019 which, according to family sources, was quite unusual as he was usually off from work on Saturdays. But according to family sources, Innis is said to have received a call from CBL Governor Patray requesting him to report to work. Family sources further say that Innis had appeared overly concerned that he had instead been summoned later by a top government official for reasons which he could not quite understand but which he suspected was linked to unfolding developments at the CBL.
But family sources say that he had been summoned to the home of a top government official (name withheld). The story continued that to the shocking surprise of his family, he was discovered dead by some residents who went banging on their doors in order to awaken them and alert them to the presence of their relative lying dead on the road side not far from his home.
The story further narrated that since he left for work on that day, his phone had gone unanswered when calls were placed to ascertain his whereabouts. His family said it was not until about 2:00 a.m. the following day, when they were awakened by some residents of the area who had gone to inform them that the body of their relative was lying on the roadside, having been allegedly struck by a moving vehicle which did not stop.
According to family sources, by the time they reached the spot where the body of Innis was reportedly sprawled on the ground, the body had already been removed by the Police and taken to the ELWA Hospital, where family members first encountered his lifeless body.
Based on its assessment of the various reports, the Daily Observer in its March 6, 2019, editorial headlined: “Looming Question: Was Matthew Innis’ Death Officially Sanctioned?” This question was asked because, from all available information, the Liberian National Police (LNP) handling of the investigation had served to create strong suspicion that either their action was deliberate and intended to destroy evidence or that the LNP was simply careless, inefficient and or incompetent.
The Daily Observer in its editorial noted that the LNP upon arrival on the crime scene failed to observe basic principles and procedures of homicide investigations on the following counts:
- The Police failed to protect the crime scene by cordoning it off and restricting access to unauthorized individuals.
- The Police failed to identify and interview witnesses who may have been present on the crime
- The Police failed to seek appropriate help by calling in an ambulance to provide assistance to the injured person who in this case was Matthew Innis
- The Police disturbed the crime scene by placing Innis’ body into his personal vehicle which was parked on the crime scene and driving it away.
- The Police did not record its observations on the condition or state of Mathew Innis’ body before taking it away without having allowed the family to identify his body before removal.
- The Police did not conduct an on the spot investigation to establish details such as the point of impact, skid marks etc, and where the body came to rest as well as the physical condition of the body
According to the family of the deceased, there has been no further information from the Police either on the status of the investigation or the findings of an autopsy which should have now been concluded. The spiritual leader of Innis’ Bethel World Outreach Ministries-Liberia, has since issued a statement expressing strong doubts and suspicion about official accounts of the death of Matthew Innis and have called on the Government to conduct a speedy probe into the matter.
Reports say Innis, a long serving employee of the CBL, was fully knowledgeable of the details surrounding the newly printed banknotes as well as the details of the US$25 million infusion and according to sources, Innis was a virtual lone voice expressing unease and concern over the manner in which the infusion exercise was virtually surrendered to the Ministry of Finance.
Innis according to reports, is said to have expressed concerns about his personal safety to some friends including his former colleague, former Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan. However in a telephone interview with SKY Radio talk show host T. Max Jlateh recently, Ngafuan admitted having a telephone discussion with Innis on that fateful day on matters concerning the arrest of CBL officials but he denied having any discussion with the late Innis on matters concerning his personal safety and security.
Whatever may be the case, this newspaper strongly feels that delays in the investigation could jeopardize the ends of justice although, from all indications, the Police may have already botched the case through its careless handling of the crime scene and the missteps committed in the course of what should be or should have been a homicide investigation.
Nevertheless this newspaper calls on this government to bring the investigation to a speedy conclusion in order to bring closure to the grieving family. They deserve it! But more to that, the government needs to clear the air of suspicion hanging over top officials of this government linking them to the death of Innis.