It is now nearly a month since the death was reported on Friday, February 19, 2021, of Executive Protection Service(EPS) agent Melvin Earley while on duty during President Weah’s tour of Nimba County.
Initially there were conflicting accounts given of how agent Melvin Earley met his untimely end. One initial account, allegedly attributed to the EPS, said agent Melvin Earley shot himself to death.
On the other hand, social media was awash with several accounts of the circumstances leading to his death which, according to most accounts, attributed agent Melvin Earley’s death to individuals assigned to President Weah’s security detail.
It was further alleged that the late agent Earley had taken a snapshot, on his phone, of Executive Mansion Protocol officer Finda Bundoo allegedly after she emerged from the President’s quarters at late hours clad only in her underwear.
Such conflicting accounts amid heightened public concerns may have prompted the release of an official statement from the EPS promising a full-scale investigation into the matter.
Taking the issue further, the Daily Observer in its February 24, 2021 editorial headlined, ‘What is the Truth Behind EPS Agent Melvin Early’s Death?”, called for a speedy investigation as promised by the EPS into the death of Agent Melvin Earley given the various and, in some cases, conflicting accounts of his death bandied on both local and social media.
The Daily Observer further urged President Weah to let the matter claim his urgent attention and get to the bottom of matter in order to put paid to wide allegations and speculations suggesting his approval of whatever happened.
Whether or not the matter did claim his attention remains unclear. However reports suggesting that the family of Earley was allegedly contacted by EPS officers to finalize funeral arrangements have not been confirmed.
But the family has since then broken its silence on the matter and called for a full investigation including an autopsy in order to determine probable cause and time of death. Other circumstances surrounding his death, to the best of public knowledge, have not been disclosed by the Police.
This is a very disconcerting development which may have, more likely than not, led to the Earley family’s decision to officially break their silence by dismissing suggestions that agent Earley committed suicide and calling instead for an open and transparent investigation into circumstances leading to his death.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica, his aunts Madame Ruth Pittman Kpakah and Grace Pittman disclosed that they had maintained silence for fear of causing harm to the widow of Melvin Earley who had since gone into hiding because she had leaked to the “Prophet Key” an audio recording between herself and her late husband apparently minutes before he was killed.
Their disclosure that the family had not been contacted by the EPS save a single visit by a lowly ranked officer to discuss funeral arrangements when an autopsy has not even been conducted has since claimed public concern.
They did not hide their disappointment in the head of the EPS, Trokon Roberts, who they claimed was a personal friend of Agent Earley but has since the death of their son distanced himself from them.
Whatever the case, the need for a speedy and transparent investigation into the death of agent Melvin Earley cannot be overemphasized. This is especially in view of the yet unexplained killings of senior government auditors and a tax compliance officer, all of which are suspected to have been masterminded by rogue elements of this government.
To date, not a single individual has been charged and brought to trial for the serial killings of those officials. Once again, it appears the public is being kept in the dark about the actual circumstances leading to the death of agent Melvin Earley. Justice Minister Musah Dean, Chairman of the Joint Security is as usual maintaining sealed lips on the matter.
This newspaper has reminded President Weah time and time again that such developments do not augur well for the image of his government. A manifest lack of official action against the perpetrators of such abuses could easily be interpreted to mean endorsement. And in the final analysis, the blame will fall at his feet.
How many more of such unexplained deaths will it take before President Weah can act to bring things under control? Granted that agent Melvin Earley may have indeed taken a snapshot of the Executive Mansion Protocol officer emerging at the early hours of the morning from the sleeping quarters of the President, did that or should that warrant his death?
Granted further that the Death Penalty is indeed prescribed for such offenses as taking unauthorized snapshots of high-profile individuals, does it forgo the rights of the individual to due process, to trial before a court of competent jurisdiction?
Is such alleged killing of agent Melvin Earley not tantamount to extrajudicial execution? And should those responsible not be held to account now or in the future?
Well, let it be known to all and sundry that extrajudicial killing constitute a crime against humanity. And let it be known further that Statute of Limitation laws do not apply in such a case.
Now as to whether this will have any discernible effect on the conduct of the promised investigation remains uncertain. And given the recent history of bungled police investigations into unsolved murders of government auditors, there is growing public concern about what is suspected as a cover-up attempt.
We (Daily Observer) certainly hope this is not the case and so we strongly urge the government of Liberia (GoL) to speedily conclude its investigation and make its findings public. Melvin Earley’s family need and deserve closure on this matter by disclosing to them the truth concerning their son’s death.
Above all, they need JUSTICE for “JUSTICE delayed is JUSTICE denied”!