St. Paul, Minnesota, June 11, 2008 (TRC) – Then Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, George Boley led soldiers to the private residence of President William R. Tolbert following the April 12, 1980 coup d’état and looted unspecified amounts of cash and valuables, a witness told commissioners of Liberia’s Truth Commission.
The witness, retired Captain and Assistant Minister of Agriculture Samuel Kalongo Luo, said upon orders of the defunct People’s Redemption Council (PRC) leader Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe, Boley stormed the slain president’s home in Bentol [Bensonville], where the soldiers forced Tolbert’s butler Patrick Tuazama to provide the combination numbers to the safe and made away with money and other valuables. The items were put in several bags and delivered to Doe at the Executive Mansion.
Testifying Wednesday at ongoing public hearings of the TRC at Hamline University in St. Paul, Luo said, Boley driving a Jaguar automobile belonging to President Tolbert commanded the soldiers who included Doe’s bodyguard he identified as one General Saye.
Luo who said he was a confidant of the coup leaders during the early days said following the looting, Boley told him and members of the PRC that the bags contained papers of the murdered president.
Although he did not disclose the exact amount of cash in the bags, the witness said he and other junta members only realized that the bags contained money when Gen. Saye told them.
“Your sitting down here the people nah take all that heavy money alone. The money they got is too plenty,” Luo said.
He said following the disclosure, a rancor developed amongst members of the junta and the PRC Vice Chairman Thomas Weh Syen, contending that Chairman Doe make full disclosure of what was contained in the bags.
Luo said Weh Syen who was in a state of discontent following Saye’s disclosure, vowed to deal with the matter harshly if Doe failed to make the disclosures.
Thomas Weh Syen demanded the money from Doe saying: “If Doe did not give him his share of the money it would not be easy. Weh Syen was pushing Doe too hard for this money business,” Luo remembered.
He said he believed it was the dispute over the money that led to confusion between Weh Syen, Doe and other coup-makers that led to the arrest and execution of Weh Syen and others ostensibly because they were plotting to overthrow the Doe government.
Also speaking during Wednesday’s hearing was one of President Tolbert’s daughters, Mrs. Wilhelmina Tolbert-Holder. She testified that George Boley and Chea Cheapoo, Justice Minister in the PRC government, placed her and two other sisters under house arrest after the coup.
Tolbert-Holder said Boley and Cheapoo made several visits to soldiers and security personnel assigned around their home during the three-week house arrest and told them they would remain in custody until they [Boley and Cheapoo] decide what to do with them.
She said during one of those visits, Boley told them that Tolbert had sent him to school and provided him a scholarship to further his education in the United States.
George Boley was the leader of the Liberia Peace Council (LPC), one of several Liberian warring factions.