Deputy IAA Boss Risks Arrest

Alphonso Toweh
Read Time:4 Minute, 9 Second

-For His Alleged Failure To Submit To Police Investigation

The Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus has announced government’s preparedness to arrest and prosecute Mr. Robert Neal, Deputy Director General for Audit at the Internal Audit Agency, should he fail to submit to police investigation at the close of Friday, March 27, 2020.

According to Cllr. Cephus, Mr. Neal risks prosecution for criminal malevolence if he fails to turn himself in for police investigation into claims of corruption and abuse of public resources which he earlier made against the Internal Audit Agency and its Director General, Hon. Emmanuel B. Nyeswa.

It can be recalled that the IAA’s Deputy Director General for Audit, Robert Neal has been consistently using the traditional and social media to spread allegations ranging from payroll paddling, non-compliance to PPCC regulations, conflict of interest, among others against the Internal Audit Agency and its Director General, Emmanuel B. Nyeswa.

But speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 in Monrovia, Liberia’s Chief Prosecutor informed the public that since Mr. Neal complained to his office about a month ago, the complainant, Mr. Neal has reneged on availing himself for police investigation; something which Cllr. Cephus described as ‘unfortunate.’

Cllr. Cephus told newsmen that as a result of Neal’s refusal to comply with the investigation, he was constrained to issue an ultimatum, which expires on Friday of this week, for the complainant’s submission to the investigation.

He noted that prosecution begins with police investigation; as such, when one alleges that a crime has been, or is being committed; such person is under legal obligation to cooperate with the police to gather the needed evidence that will inform an indictment.

On the contrary, Cllr. Cephus indicated that Mr. Neal, rather than providing the pieces of evidence to enable the state review said pieces of evidence to determine whether or not to proceed with indictment, Mr. Neal has chosen to avoid the police which further undermines the entire investigation.

The Country’s chief prosecutor is further cautioning the IAA’s Deputy for Audit to do the honorable thing by submitting to the police to support his claims with the necessary evidence, citing that free lies will not be misconstrued for free speech under the presidency of Dr. George M. Weah.

In his official Facebook post, Mr. Robert Neal alleged that Cllr.Sayma Syrennius Cephus, like some government officials, doesn’t mean well for Liberia. He said “Cllr. Cephus, I urge you to put Liberia first and stop your attempt to cover up Mr. Nyeswa in the ongoing case about the IAA. Clearly, you have taken side. Mr. Nyeswa is a thief. Covering him up in this will serve as an incentive for him and others to do more. Corruption truly exists at the IAA and all of you know that it is true. Liberia is bleeding and we need to be patriotic. Your press conference, loaded with lies, is disappointing! Liberia should regret having you as its Solicitor General.”

“These are the unfortunate lies contained in Cllr. Cephus’ interview: Cllr. Cephus mentioned that I walked into his office at one time, introduced myself as an employee of the IAA, and alleged that my boss, Barten Nyeswa was making US$40,000 monthly. This is a lie! Cllr. Cephus phoned me one afternoon and said that the Government of Liberia was interested in the US$40,000 payroll fraud allegation at the IAA that I had raised and wanted me over to provide details. And I asked him on the phone the following two questions: “Mr Solicitor General, I flagged more than 10 corruption and breaches of integrity and transparency issues at the IAA. Why is the Government only interested in the US$40,000 issue?” Another question that I asked him was this: “Mr. Solicitor General, I wrote the Ministry of Justice, specifically your office about the issues at the IAA on October 2, 2019. Why are you now only concerned the last week of February, 2020?” However, I decided to attend to his call.

On Wednesday, I showed up at his office. During our phone conversation, he asked me to be at his office by 10:30AM. The next day by 10:20AM, I arrived at his office and was hosted by his Special Assistant, Cllr. Gould. Unfortunately he left his office by 10:10AM, as I was told, to run an errand at Ecobank. Cllr. Cephus returned to his office almost 1: PM. And I waited patiently all that time. Cllr. Cephus mentioned in his press conference that our next scheduled meeting was on a Friday. So that Friday, I again went to his office. That was a lie. We had no further meeting as we did not agree to meet. He asked me to talk with two investigators that he had invited into our discussions. And that the investigators would report to him,” he explained.

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About Post Author

Alphonso Toweh

Alphonso Toweh Alphonso has  been in the profession for over twenty years. He has worked for many international media outlets including: West Africa Magazine, Africa Week Magazine, African Observer and did occasional reporting for CNN, BBC World Service, Sunday Times, NPR, Radio Deutchewells, Radio Netherlands. He is the current correspondent for Reuters. Mr. Toweh holds first MA with honors in International Relations and a candidate for second master in International Peace studies and Conflict Resolution.
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