Information gathered by Media Without Borders indicates that the state is considering reopening the grave of Mercy Alagpulinsa, a key witness to the massive thefts of government drugs from the Upper East Regional Hospital, for answers about how she died.
A new source, who was very close to Alagpulinsa and reportedly saw almost everything, has given more details.
The source confirmed that a Ghana Health Service (GHS) administrator, whose wife is among some three hospital workers facing a criminal trial for the drug thefts, had requested to meet with Alagpulinsa privately.
The administrator (name withheld on investigation grounds) is said to have proposed the meeting to persuade Alagpulinsa to join the court case as a witness for his accused wife.
According to the source, Alagpulinsa went for the meeting around 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 15 August 2023, and returned around 1:00 p.m. the same day complaining of a stomach pain.
“Before she went for the meeting, she was not in any pain and she was never sick,” the 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.
Hospital authorities in a tight spot
The Upper East Regional Hospital, where Alagpulinsa died with sixteen weeks’ pregnancy, is in a tight corner.
She was buried at her hometown, Chuchuliga in the Builsa North Municipality, on Wednesday, 16 August 2023.
On Monday, 21 August 2023, the hospital’s management reported her death to the Regional Command of the Ghana Police Service in the Upper East Region.
The police interrogated the hospital’s authorities and took statements from them for not reporting Alagpulinsa’s death at once and for releasing her body immediately after her death for burial in such circumstances.
The hospital reported her death to the police only after Media Without Borders had published a news report on Thursday, 17 August 2023, about the circumstances surrounding her demise.
Subsequently, the regional police command took statements from three members of Alagpulinsa’s family on Friday, 1 September 2023. More people are expected to give statements regarding her death.
‘Alagpulinsa may have declined to do the favour’—Sources
Sources have revealed that Alagpulinsa, who lived so close to one of the accused persons, was against the drug thefts and that the cartel involved in the drug thefts knew she was unhappy about the goings-on.
The sources say they believe she met with the said administrator and may have declined to do the administrator the favour he wanted.
The criminal trial of the three accused persons involved in the massive medicine thefts at the government hospital is scheduled to continue on Wednesday, 6 September 2023, at the Circuit Court in Bolgatanga.
The accused persons— Fasilat Raheem, the hospital’s drug storekeeper, Bridget Banoeyelle, an assistant dispensary officer at the hospital’s pharmacy, and Raymond Asoke, a driver at the hospital— were arrested separately on Friday, 4 August 2023, and Saturday, 5 August 2023.
They were arrested and remanded into police custody after Media Without Borders’ Edward Adeti uncovered a near-abandoned building where a cartel had been hiding tons of drugs stolen from the hospital for the past two years for resale in the Northern Region.
The Divisional Police Command in Bolgatanga retrieved stolen thirty-four boxes of assorted drugs from the building when Media Without Borders led a police team to the location on the night of Friday, 4 August 2023.
The state is pressing charges of stealing, conspiracy and abetment of stealing against the three accused hospital workers.
Source: Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org