An autopsy report is said to have revealed that the Head of the Pharmacy Department of the Upper East Regional Hospital, Samuel Amoateng Saffoh, was poisoned.
Amoateng— as he was better known— died mysteriously on the night of Saturday, 23 September 2023, after he openly vowed to get to the bottom of uncovered thefts of government drugs at the hospital by a cabal.
A top medical doctor working with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in Ghana’s capital, Accra, told Media Without Borders he gathered information in relation to the autopsy from a reliable source in the service that “Amoateng was poisoned”.
Another medical authority at the Upper East Regional Hospital told Media Without Borders on Thursday: “Autopsy was performed on him two days ago but I have not seen the report yet.”
An individual, who is believed to have sighted the autopsy report, is quoted to have revealed on a platform, too: “This is the autopsy report of my late friend Amoateng, pharmacist at Bolga Regional Hospital. Very sad.”
Authorities at the Upper East Regional Hospital told Media Without Borders on Thursday that the autopsy was carried out at the Tamale Teaching Hospital.
Amoateng, who until his death was also the Upper East Regional Chairman of the Government Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA), hailed from Nsuta in the Ashanti Region and worked at the hospital for five years.
Residents call for arrests
Drugs supplied to the hospital by the Ministry of Health (MoH) were being stolen in tons by a cartel and sold in the Northern Region until Media Without Borders’ Edward Adeti investigated the thefts for about a year and finally blew their cover in August, 2023.
The journalist led the Ghana Police Service to a near-abandoned building in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Region’s capital, where thirty-four boxes of medicines stolen from the hospital were found and retrieved.
Three employees of the hospital—Fasilat Raheem, Bridget Banoeyelle and Raymond Asoke— were arrested for their self-confessed roles in the scandal.
But they have refused to mention the names of the other members of the cartel, according to the police.
The three healthcare employees are currently standing trial at the Circuit Court in Bolgatanga for stealing, abetment of stealing and conspiracy.
Mercy Alagpulinsa, who was close to one of the accused persons and had disapproved of the cartel’s operations, died mysteriously eleven days after the accused persons were arrested. Police were considering adding her to a team of witnesses for the drug-theft case before she suddenly died.
She complained of a stomach pain and died just hours after a GHS regional administrator, whose wife is among the accused persons, reportedly had held a private meeting with her.
Sources say before Alagpulinsa died, she disclosed that the administrator had requested to meet with her to persuade her to join the court case a witness for his accused wife.
The sources believe she was eliminated not just because of the secret she knew but also because she might have turned down the administrator’s request.
Alagpulinsa had a hasty burial at her hometown of Chuchuliga in the Builsa North Municipality on Wednesday, 16 August 2023, less than twenty-four hours following her sudden death the previous day with a four-month pregnancy.
Meanwhile, the Upper East Regional Police Command is seeking an order from the District Court in Bolgatanga to exhume her remains to find out the cause of death.
While the police in the region are on the move towards securing a court order to dig up Alagpulinsa’s body, there is also a growing public demand for police to arrest the administrator who reportedly met with the key witness just before her death.
Similarly, calls are mounting for the arrests of any suspicious characters who may have been found around the head of the hospital’s pharmacy department (Samuel Amoateng Saffoh) before his death.
“With this shocking autopsy report, [any suspicious characters] who got into contact with him a day or two before his sudden passing must be arrested and investigated,” reacted an angry resident on Thursday.
Source: Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org