The late Suzzy Lebene Malike Williams was one of the very few showbiz/entertainment personalities who enjoyed the eminence that comes with being in the limelight in Ghana.
While she was alive, the Ghanaian lass starred in dozens of Ghanaian and Ghanaian-Nigerian movies and was the toast of the Ghanaian film industry. Suzzy was an actress par excellence, peerless among her peers! Tis no denying the fact that she ‘inspired’ her contemporaries like Nana Ama McBrown, who were green and inexperienced back in those days.
Owing to her exceptional acting skills, some of her fanatics (fans) called her “Sharon Stone”, nicknamed after legendary American actress, Sharon Vonne Stone. Just like America’s Sharon Stone, Suzzy was often typecast as a “femme fatale” in movies and so the “Sharon Stone” moniker aptly fitted her.
As talented as she was, Ghana’s “Sharon Stone” (Suzzy Williams) was not pigeonholed as a movie/film actress. She also made appearances in TV commercials/advertisements such as “Chancha Cream”, “Baron’s Dry Gin”, “Woba Ada Anaa Bitters” and many others.
In addition, her services were engaged by music video directors who cast her as a video vixen in Ghanaian music videos viz. “Apuskeleke” (Sidney), “Ah” (Reggie Rockstone featuring KK Fosu), “Ahomka Womu” (V.I.P.) and “Osrobokye” remix (Akasanoma & Dr. Paa Bobo).
The Ghanaian actress was a real stunner, so ravishing that “men”, both “rich” and “poor”, swooned over her whenever they behold her, be it in person or via the tube or small screen.
Suzzy was virtually of interest to the populace, and as a teenager around that time, everything about her fascinated me greatly. Accordingly, I kept a close “eye” on her, like “Big Brother” monitoring housemates.
Indisputably, she was adored and idolised to the max by the entire nation. Suzzy Williams was to Ghana what “Michael Jackson” was to the United States of America (USA).
Thus on this day, 8th September in 2005, when news went around that the beloved Ghanaian actress had given up the ghost in a ghastly motor accident, it hit many, especially her avid fans, like a sharp dagger right at the centre of their hearts, inflicting an indelible scar therein.
The general atmosphere across the country was very sorrowful, with tears flowing profusely. If tears could resurrect the dead, Suzzy Williams would have been brought back to life on the same day of her demise – Thursday 8th September, 2005.
Her demise came as a big blow to all and sundry because of the fact that she was at the meridian of her career. Besides, she was one of the few new crop of Ghanaian actors/actresses who had been tipped to attain international stature. As a matter of fact, Suzzy was on the cusp of reaching the top echelon of the international film world as a string of juicy international deals were in the offing for her.
There were media reports after her premature departure that, she had just won a lucrative movie contract with a leading film production company based in “Mzansi” (officially known as South Africa). This South African contract, according to an insider, was signed at the Penta Hotel in Osu, Accra. After this, she was given a colossal amount of money (in dollars as usual) as part of the contractual agreement.
Beyond this, Suzzy had been scheduled to jet off to Germany to work on a myriad of movie projects across Europe. Therefore, on Wednesday 7th September, 2005 (on the eve of the accident), she went to her mother’s residence at Darkuman (a suburb of Accra), where she also resided, to search frantically for her birth certificate in order to complete the traveling document to Europe. Unfortunately, she did not find the birth certificate, so she decided to postpone the search for this document.
As reported in Graphic Showbiz newspaper in September, 2005, Suzzy would have earned up to “5,900 Euros” (kindly convert it to Ghanaian Cedi) for each day she went on set to shoot a film. She had been paid a staggering commitment fee already, and the Germany-based agency was only waiting for her birth certificate to finalise this international deal, et cetera.
Evidently, Suzzy was enormously ‘rich’ at the time, and was probably itching to throw it around like confetti, knowing very well that more “moola” would rain on her when she touched down in Europe in a few weeks’ time.
But alas, all those life-changing deals never materialised.
Events Leading to the Accident & Matters Arising
A day to her sudden death, Suzzy and her Liberian boyfriend, Edwin Eastman, officially known as “Edwin Taylor” had gone on a drinking spree.
Right from about 2pm on that day (Wednesday 7th September, 2005), they tooled around almost the entire city of Accra in Suzzy’s Mitsubishi Pajero Junior (with registration number “GW 818 W”), hopping from one drinking spot and pub to another, a drinking expedition which run into the wee hours of the following day (Thursday September 8, 2005).
At “Jokers” nightclub in Labadi, which was their last stop, the two “party animals” decided to retire to Edwin’s place, ostensibly to spend the night together “blissfully”, as natural of young lovebirds.
Surely, by that time of the night, which was around 1am on September 8, both Suzzy and Edwin might have been drunk, drowsy and frazzled after their wild and intense outing.
On their way to Edwin’s residence at the Nungua Barrier in Accra, the Mitsubishi car they were both in skidded off the road and somersaulted umpteen times at the “T-junction” where Giffard Road meets La Beach Road, just in front of the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel.
According to eye witnesses’ reports, Suzzy was violently thrown out of the car as it somersaulted. The actress was later found lying unconscious on the well-manicured lawn beside the walls of the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel. ‘Shockingly’, Edwin (her Liberian boyfriend) survived unscathed.
Tis important to note that, doctors and health practitioners in the public health sector had gone on strike around that time in 2005. As a result of this, Suzzy was transported in a private vehicle (the car behind them at the time of the accident, I learnt) to a private health facility, situated off the Spintex Road, named Lister Clinic (now Lister Hospital & Fertility Centre) – where she passed on later in the day around 11am.
Shortly after, one of Suzzy’s buddies, Samira Yakubu (the current Manager of actress, Jackie Appiah) came out, all guns blazing, to vehemently accused Lister Clinic of medical negligence, which according to her, partly contributed to the demise of the young Ghanaian actress.
Samira, who was one of the few folks to have rushed to the clinic, having received a call about the unfortunate incident, told PnP (the newspaper she was a staff writer cum columnist for back then) that it took the medical officers “forever” to attend to her dying friend.
What even made Samira livid was that, after Suzzy had been pronounced dead at the facility, the clinic demanded a hefty sum of money before allowing the corpse to be taken to the morgue.
After the body was finally released to the family, a necropsy was conducted on the late movie star by one Dr. Lawrence Edusei – a Pathologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
Corroborated by a Ghana Standards Board forensic science report (dated 10th October, 2005), the ‘contentious’ results showed that Suzzy Williams had traces of cocaine in her nose and liver as found by the nose swab and liver/stomach content analyses.
Moreover, there was high levels of alcohol in her blood system, according to the blood sample analysis. Hence, at the time of her death, Suzzy Williams was like a “walking brewery” in the city (“Akpeteshie” brewery???).
But her mother, Cecilia Williams in an interview with Stacy Amoateng on the “Restoration” TV show in November 2019 refuted the autopsy report. She claimed that, while at the clinic, she saw a “fair-coloured young man” walked in to push a straw/syringe into her daughter’s nose and that she strongly believes the substance injected into Suzzy via the nostrils on the bed at Lister Clinic was the cocaine found by the nose swab when the post-mortem examination was conducted.
The ‘Arrest’ of Suzzy’s Liberian Boyfriend
The La (Labadi) District Police, whose jurisdiction the fatal accident had occurred, only got to know about it when Cecilia Williams (Suzzy’s mother), followed by some few others, appeared at the station in the afternoon on that fateful day, 8th September. They requested for a coroner’s report to enable an autopsy to be performed on the deceased actress.
Following this request, the La police officers, led by ASP Nyamekye Adane-Ameyaw (the then Commander of the Station) immediately went to the accident scene.
The mangled remains of Suzzy’s ‘pricey’ Mitsubishi car had been pushed to the Shell filling station, between the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel and Labadi Beach Hotel (two distinct top-flight hotels located arm’s length apart)
The mangled remains of Suzzy’s ‘pricey’ Mitsubishi car had been pushed to the Shell filling station, between the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel and Labadi Beach Hotel (two distinct top-flight hotels located arm’s length apart), an action, the police said, would have probably wiped away some vital clues. That notwithstanding, they carried on with their inquest into the cause of her death.
At the scene of the accident, the police met the mother of Edwin (Suzzy’s Liberian boyfriend), who then led them to their house at the Nungua Barrier, according to The Ghanaian Times newspaper report.
Upon reaching their modest abode, the police met Edwin moping around the compound restlessly, apparently thinking about what might likely befall him in the wake of the accident.
When the police accosted him and found out that he had failed to go for medical attentions, they voluntarily drove him to the Police Hospital where he was treated and discharged on the same day (September 8).
The police squad, together with Edwin, then proceeded thence directly to the La Police Station, where Edwin’s statement was taken instantaneously.
At this point, a gaggle of irate fans of Suzzy Williams had amassed in front of the station, chanting a war song amid threatening to avenge the death of their dear movie icon. The seething fans accused the Liberian lad of premeditated murder and blah blah blah. They just could not fathom out why it was “only” him who had survived.
For his own safety, the police decided to keep Edwin in custody.
The grapevine has it that it was at this mammoth gathering that the popular “Suzzy Williams” song was composed. The distasteful “jama” song that talks about her genitalia going “WASTE”, a clear indication of how men (and maybe women too) lusted after her as she was alive.
The next day (Friday 9th September, 2005), the police took Edwin to the scene of the accident to give a graphical explanation of how the accident transpired.
In a PnP newspaper publication, it was reported that Edwin had stated at the accident scene that Suzzy was the one driving the vehicle when the accident happened. He told the police a careless car suddenly crossed their path, which made Suzzy lost control. Their car then hit the pavement and somersaulted several times.
However, in a sudden turn of event, he confessed to the police the following day (Saturday, September 10, 2005) that he (Edwin) was the one behind the vehicle’s steering wheel when the accident took place. The Liberian national, who had no driving licence, affirmed that a small car crossed theirs, which led to the accident.
He was subsequently arraigned before an Accra circuit court on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as three additional charges of careless driving, failing to report an accident and negligently causing harm. Edwin pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges, and was initially remanded but was later granted bail.
The court, presided over by Judge Frank Manu, in March 2007, found him guilty and sentenced him to a fine of “12 million cedis” (old Ghanaian Cedi) or in default 2 years imprisonment.
Where is Suzzy’s Liberian boyfriend?
After all the saga and cacophony, Edwin Eastman or “Edwin Taylor” (his official name) eventually returned to ‘normal’ life. The Liberian bloke then became a born-again Christian, maintaining a very low profile. Later on, he married a fellow Liberian named Mercy Sirleaf (also based in Accra, Ghana) with whom he has a daughter.
A natural-born singer as he’s always been, Edwin has now devoted his whole life to ministering through gospel music whilst so fervently taking part in Christian/church activities.
Prior to Edwin going gospel, he was a member of a Ghana-based Liberian RnB group called “Soul Black” – a defunct music group which was made up of refugees from Liberia domiciled here in Ghana. They were about 4 in the group.
Soul Black had a short stint with Ghanaian record label, D’KayBee Productions which was owned by Scottish-Ghanaian entrepreneur and ”computer wizard”, David Kwamena Bolton aka “DKB” (stylised as “D’KayBee”) – the best friend of the late Jerry John Rawlings (former President of Ghana).
The group had a song which featured Ghanaian rapper, Kwaku T (Ghana’s housemate in M-Net’s Big Brother Africa season 2, held in 2007). Soul Black were regular fixture at small karaoke/entertainment venues in Accra during their active days. Edwin’s predicament undoubtedly affected the group badly.
Aside from this, Edwin Eastman/Edwin Taylor was a ferocious basketball player known within the Accra basketball circuit back in the day when he was a vicenarian. His peers like Van Vicker (the famous Ghanaian actor) ‘feared’ him on the basketball court.
Edwin gained some prominence in the early 2000s when he boldly engaged in a one-on-one basketball battle with the “almighty” Meme Kweku Falconer, known widely by his mononym “Meme”, at the iconic Legon Basketball Court at the University of Ghana.
It is said that, this fierce battle between the two nearly ended the illustrious basketball career of Meme, who was then the most decorated basketball player in the country. “Mr. Basketball”, as Meme is affectionately called, is highly celebrated for jumping over a car to dunk on the basketball court, a dangerous basketball stunt any b’ball player in Ghana is yet to attempt to perform, many years on.
In a deep conversation with Richard Afedi aka “Baby Shaq” (a seasoned “basketballer”) on the said basketball battle, he stated that, “the crowd was more behind Edwin but Meme won the day. Only Edwin could stand in front of him at that time.”
Baby Shaq added, “Edwin was one of the best and one of the basketball players I grew up watching…”
Seemingly, all these skills and qualities (singing, basketballing, et cetera et cetera) that Edwin embodied were some of the attributes that endeared him to Suzzy Williams, in spite of the fact that the Liberian chap was a ‘struggling’ young man back then.
It ought to be mentioned that, before Edwin and Suzzy would start to date, the latter (Suzzy) was in a sizzling amorous relationship with Abeiku (not “Abeiku Santana”).
Full-named Abeiku Acquah, he was the Legon guy who played the character of “Killer” in popular Ghanaian youth TV series, “Things We Do For Love” (TWDFL). He currently plays a cameo in “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) – the sequel to TWDFL.
Their love affair sprang up from the set of “Things We Do For Love” TV series, in which both Suzzy and Abeiku acted together in one of the scenes of episode 24. The duo went kaput following “irreconcilable differences”. Some of their mutual friends and gossipmongers were of the view that she actually jilted Abeiku for Edwin.
In 2014 when Edwin released his debut gospel single, I sent him an invite for a radio interview on University of Ghana’s Radio Univers 105.7 Mhz (where I was a student broadcaster/producer at the time). Surprisingly, but not too surprisingly, he declined my offer to put him on the airwaves of the “Voice of Legon” (Radio Univers).
Perhaps, Edwin finds solace in doing music to just his ‘small’ circle of family and friends, as well as to his Christ Embassy Church members instead of being in the “mainstream” music circle – where he could be easily attacked by the die-hard fans of his late celebrity girlfriend – Suzzy, while also being constantly reminded of his grim past.
If “tragedy” is an “unhappy” ending to an otherwise “pleasant” story, the “untimely” passing of Suzzy Williams in that tragic car accident in 2005 really was.
Her funeral attracted such teeming battalions of mourners that, those who had the chance to file past her body, as laid in state at the MUSIGA headquarters in Accra, counted themselves very “lucky” and “blessed”.
At the Osu Cemetery where she was interred, people who had gone there to bury their late family members on that very day had to hastily do so when the late actress’ funerary procession arrived at the burial ground. There were families who even totally abandoned the casket of their deceased relatives to actively participate in the final interment of the late Ghanaian screen goddess (the power of fame!).
In fact, Suzzy Williams’ funeral was one hell of a sombre occasion that witnessed the largest gathering of people in the Republic of Ghana. And to say that “pickpockets” really had a field day on that day is to state the obvious truth.
By Eugene Selorm Owusu