In a letter addressed to the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and dated on October 16, 2020, the United States based Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) for onward presentation to the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, Richard F. Chambers, President and Chief Executive Officer in his letter said, “As you may be aware, four government auditors in Liberia, including the country’s senior auditor, recently met with their untimely deaths, and it is our understanding that Liberia President George Weah has reached out to the United States for help in investigating the incidents.”
“The Institute of Internal Auditors, a U.S.-based organization representing public- and private-sector auditors in Liberia and nearly 200 countries and territories, respectfully urges you to accept President Weah’s request and authorize the assistance of appropriate U.S. expertise and resources to help review circumstances around the deaths,” the letter continues.
The letter further said, “Reports indicate troubling circumstances around the deaths, which occurred over an eight-day period, involving: Mr. Emmanuel Barten Nyeswua, Director General, Liberia Internal Audit Agency. He died Oct. 10 of an apparent fall Mr. Albert Peters, Assistant Commissioner for Audit, Liberia Revenue Authority. He died the week of Oct. 3 in an apparent car accident. Mrs. Gifty Lama, Acting Manager for Tax Services, Liberia Revenue Authority. She also died the week of Oct. 3 in an apparent car accident. Both Lama and Peters were in the same vehicle, according to reports. Mr. George F. Fanbutu, Liberia Revenue Authority. He died Oct. 4 in an apparent car accident, “ the letter continues.
“In addition to the short period in which these mysterious deaths occurred, all four reportedly were conducting ongoing audits of Liberia government accounts over allegations of misappropriation of funds. Only a year ago, Thami Zikode, chief audit executive of the South African Broadcasting Corp., survived an assassination attempt, according to reports, which also stated that Zikode was investigating allegations of corruption.’
While evidence of any wrongdoing in the recent deaths of the four auditors so far appears inconclusive, the United States and Liberia have a special relationship dating back more than 160 years and supporting this notable ally would be an important gesture of our countries’ commitment to each other’s security. Internal audit serves a vital role in organizations and government agencies in the United States and around the world, especially in developing countries where controls and resources may be limited. If these deaths are determined to be more than coincidental accidents, we feel that such a sinister act, particularly on public servants whose sole role is to protect the country’s citizens, would be an attack on the people and an assault on society and democracy.
The letter concluding also noted, “We thank you for your continued support of our country during these challenging times and deeply hope you will consider this critical request to assist the Liberia government in protecting their strong democracy. If we may be of assistance, please contact Brad Jones, IIA Director of Government Relations in Washington, D.C., at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-434-9230.”
Richard F. Chambers, CIA, QIAL, CGAP, CCSA, CRMA
President and Chief Executive Officer
CC: President Donald J. Trump
CC: Ambassador Michael A. McCarthy, United States Ambassador to Liberia
CC: The Honorable Karen Bass, Co-Chair, Congressional Liberia Caucus
CC: The Honorable Donald Payne, Co-Chair, Congressional Liberia Caucus.”