It was believed that Mercy Alagpulinsa, a key witness to thefts of government medicines at the Upper East Regional Hospital, died of unnatural causes.
The Upper East Regional Police Command exhumed her remains at Chuchuliga in the Builsa North Municipality in the last week of October, 2023, after the District Court in Bolgatanga ordered that her body be exhumed for a post-mortem examination.
Although the results are yet to be made public, a Ghana Health Service (GHS) regional administrator, who is said to have invited Alagpulinsa for a do-me-a-favour meeting shortly before she complained of a severe stomach pain and died, was arrested by the Upper East Regional Police Command in connection with her death.
Sources revealed the administrator confirmed to police that he met with Alagpulinsa at a guest house on the day she died.
Authorities at the command say the administrator is now on bail, pending further investigations. But they did not give explanation if his arrest is linked to the results of the post-mortem examination.
Alagpulinsa died after three employees of the Upper East Regional Hospital, including the administrator’s wife, were arrested after an investigation by Media Without Borders’ Edward Adeti exposed a cartel responsible for years-long massive thefts of government drugs at the regional hospital.
Thirty-four boxes of assorted medicines, which were supplied to the regional hospital by the Ministry of Health (MoH), were retrieved from them during their arrests in August, 2023.
The three employees— Fasilat Raheem, a drug storekeeper, Bridget Banoeyelle, an assistant dispensary officer, and Raymond Asoke, a driver— were put before the Circuit Court in Bolgatanga where they were remanded into police custody for two weeks twice before they were granted bail.
While the accused persons were in police custody, the administrator reportedly told Alagpulinsa he had engaged a lawyer for his accused wife and entreated her to join the case as a witness for his wife. He allegedly also told Alagpulinsa he would like to have a discussion with her on what she should tell the lawyer and proposed a meeting for the said discussion.
Sources say Alagpulinsa left her home around 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 15 August 2023, for the meeting. She reportedly returned about an hour later, crying in pain and unable to come out of a motorised tricycle that brought her back home. While inside the parked vehicle, she was complaining of stomach pain, sweating and vomiting foam-covered substances at the same time.
“Before she went for the meeting, she was not in any pain and she was never sick,” a close source told Media Without Borders. “She told me she would meet with the administrator first and that she and I would go the Bolga market together afterwards.”
“But a Mahama-Can-Do (a motorised tricycle) brought her back from the meeting. She was in pain. She couldn’t even get down from the Mahama-Can-Do. She was sweating. She was in a serious pain. While she was in the can-do, she asked me to go into her room and bring her national health insurance card for her.
“She didn’t get down from the can-do. From there, we went straight to the hospital. She vomited several times at the hospital. There was a foam in the vomits. She complained of stomachache until she died a few hours later at the hospital,” the source added.
Many suspect she did not die a natural death because of some secrets she knew about the drug-stealing cartel. Police were contemplating featuring her as a witness in the ongoing case until sources broke news of her death and narrated the suspicious circumstances surrounding it.
On Saturday, 23 September 2023, the head of the regional hospital’s pharmacy department, Samuel Amoateng Saffoh, died mysteriously, too, after he vowed to get to the bottom of the cartel’s operations following Media Without Borders‘ exposé.
An autopsy conducted on his body on Tuesday, 26 September 2023, at the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) reportedly revealed he was poisoned.
The stolen tons of drugs were usually hidden in a building outside the hospital’s premises and transported before dawn to the Northern Region for sale.
Police say the three accused hospital workers, who have been placed on interdiction by the management of the hospital following Adeti’s investigation, have refused to name those who buy the stolen drugs from them.
The court is scheduled to sit on the case again on Wednesday, 15 November 2023.
Source: Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org