By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
Since Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh announced that government’s investigations and two foreign pathologists’ reports have proven that the man believed to be Michael Allison,48, died as a result of natural drowning on February 12 in Sinkor, there have been doubts and mixed reactions over the government’s claim. Some citizens are still in a state of disbelief as to the actual cause of death, doubting what government said, while others have taken issues with the government for dwelling into the personal life of the deceased, by saying that he was a holder of many passports, which proved that he was not a Liberian citizen.
In addressing the press recently on the mater, Justice Minister Sannoh who described the second pathologist’ report as government’s final report on the death of Allison said the Liberia National Police uncovered no evidence of foul play or linking the cause of death to any other person. He maintained that nobody implicated or contributed to the death of Allison therefore there will be no charges levied against anyone because government believes that the pathologists were eminently qualified and reported that the cause of death was as a result of natural, salt water drowning which is consistent with accident.
However, he extended government’s profound regret for a human loss but said the late Allison led a dubious life with multiple identities. Minister Sannoh said investigation showed that there is no record to establish when ‘Allison’ was added to the deceased’ name even though he was widely identified as ‘Michael Allison.’
Furthermore, the Attorney General said Allison was in possession of a Bahamas, USA and two Liberian Passports with different names noting that on the Bahamas Passport, his name is Nkrumah Moziah and on the USA Passport from which his fingerprint was extracted and it matched that of his body during the autopsy, his name is Nadir Mulmi while the passport obtained from Liberia bears the name ‘Moziah Allison’ on one.
He said in that passport, his father’s name is mentioned as one ‘Glay’ Allison instead of a ‘Gray D. Allison’ as being speculated in many quarters in Liberia and also proved that he was a Sierra Leonean by birth and interestingly there is no evidence of anyone bearing the name ‘Michael Allison.’ The minister noted that said Allison’s passport qualified him to be a citizen of the Bahamas and the USA and that in the future the security needed to do more scrutiny.
It can be recalled that on February 12, it was reported that the late Allison along with his fiancée walked to the beach, South of Sinkor and he decided walking into the sea for a bath. Minutes after, his fiancée observed that he was drowning and yelled for help at which time a Brazilian national went to his rescue with a life boat and brought him on shore.
Expectedly, his death sparked controversy because it came days after Mr. Allison blew the whistle about alleged corruption on the part of House Speaker Alex Tyler and Montserrado County Representative Adolph Lawrence regarding some US$25,000 consultancy contract. The deceased reportedly raised an alarm after he noticed that the amount due him was inflated, something for which he blew the whistle which brought in the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC). The LACC then noticed some violations on the part of the officials, on the rules of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC).
On February 17, the family through its secretary, Daniel H. Allison, announced the notification of Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods to render them legal assistance as they seek expeditious justice relative to the mysterious death of their son, a notice Atty Woods confirmed. This newspaper even published a story in its February 18 edition, captioned: “Allison family wants speedy Investigation…” based on a press statement from individuals said to be relatives and friends of the deceased.
The family identified the late Michael as one of the sons of Gray D. Allison, former Defense Minister of Liberia in the Samuel Kanyon Doe’s regime and admitted that he was born in Liberia and taken to Sierra Leone by his mother; he got his secondary education in Sierra Leone and went to London where he earned his college education and legal studies.
It was also reported that the late Michael returned to Liberia upon the call of President Sirleaf when she called on Liberian professionals in the Diaspora to come home and contribute to the rebuilding of their land. With a degree in Petroleum law, he was hired by the National Legislature and became a consultant to the New Petroleum Law.
The Alison family said Michael was dedicated to the strict disciplines of the Allison family and had refused to take money that he did not earn as he raised alarm that blew out corrupt practices in the public adding, “The death of our son remains a mystery to everyone; we vow not to rest till the true cause of his death is found.”
Let me say that this piece is not intended to dwell into the merits and demerits of the ongoing arguments as to whether or not the government was right or wrong for dwelling into the personal life of the deceased. My concerns relate to three issues that I feel are very germane to the issue at bar, some of which were raised by the Attorney General of the Republic.
On the first issue, I feel that the government’s report on the matter, since it decided to raise the issue of duplicity, it should have gone further to give more details on the Immigration Bureau’s account on the issuance of passports by giving the time and those culpable for such alleged dubious deeds. If it is true, then, it is an act of skullduggery, for which those liable should be booked. Conversely, if nothing is done, then, it is a tacit approval of perpetuating illegal acts. Hence, the government’s claim on this is inconclusive and therefore, needs further details.
My concerned point relates to the issue of dubious passports. Again, the government erred by not displaying those passports for the public since it decided to raise this issue discovered during its investigations. That would have been clear and convincing evidence, but to keep it as a Zoe Bush” matter, only leads to more misgivings by members of the public, especially given our sociology.
The Minister, my senior brother, knows that even in cases of murder, one cannot only accuse someone of murder without evidence of the dead body, legally known as “Corpus Delicti.” Even in a matter of “presumption of death,” there is a given period after which a missing person or someone who disappeared is presumed dead.”
Therefore, it would be sagacious, in terms of convincing the public to publish or display those multi-passports to substantiate government’s claim that this decedent is not a Liberian, being fully aware that “he that alleges a fact must prove it, ”to substantiate his or her claim.
My third or last concern on this matter relates to those who claimed to be family members of the late Allison. Since the government had said that their “relative” is not a citizen of Liberia and that he was living a dubious life, it now behooves the family to come out with details to show evidence that indeed, the deceased was the son of the late Gray D. Allison, a former Minister of Defense during the late Samuel K. Doe’s regime.
If these individuals are afraid for some reasons, they can do so through some individuals to comment. If not, one is left to deduce that these individuals were involved in mischief by claiming to be the deceased’s family.
In closing, let me say that my concern is not whether or not the Minister was right or wrong for delving into the life of the deceased, but those three points on the failure of the government to display the passports; the government’s failure to give details of culpability on the issuance of the passports and the failure of the family to prove or disapprove government’s claim that their “relative” is not a citizen of Liberia.
Until my concerns are answered, I Rest My Case.