Missing Minister's Family, Party Chief Clash

By Our Monrovia Correspondent

The Perspective
April 14, 2001

As the mystery around the disappearance of former deputy information minister J. Milton Teahjay enters its second week with fading hopes of finding him, family members and the former leader of Teahjay's political party, Mr. G. Baccus Matthews, have clashed on the man's fate. Matthews claimed family members had informed him that Teahjay was safe, a claimed denounced by the family in a statement released Thursday.

Mr. Matthews called on the family to "clear the air" on the whereabouts of Mr. Teahjay. He indicated that the "Teahjay family did not confirm nor deny the reports but asked for time to discuss his advice to inform the Government without delay if the reports [of Teahjay being alive] were true."

But the family rejected the claims, saying that they were concerned about Mr. Matthews' claims that Teahjay's family had informed him that Teahjay was alive and well, and that he has been in communication with his family.

The family said it "categorically denied having any knowledge of Milton's whereabouts nor receiving any communication directly or indirectly from Mr. Teahjay since his mysterious disappearance. The family also denied ever asking Mr. Matthews for time to discuss his "advice" as alleged by the former UPP leader, who also serves as a PR man for the main timber company Oriental Timber Corporation (OTC). Teahjay disappeared after he criticized the indiscriminate logging engendering mass poverty and environmental disasters in Liberia. President Taylor regards the timber companies and the forests as his "presidential pepperbush".

"It would appear that Mr. Matthews has information and some evidence relating to the whereabouts of Milton, which could assist the family and the government in locating and resolving the confusion surrounding the disappearance or our brother and husband. We would therefore urge Mr. Matthews to come forward with every piece of evidence within his knowledge and possession for the expeditious resolution of this matter," the family statement said.

The family accused Mr. Matthews of giving them a three-hour ultimatum to locate Mr. Teahjay or have themselves to be blamed for the consequences.

The family says it appreciates the assurance of the government to continue to investigate. It called on Mr. Teahjay to break the silence if he was alive.

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