The Circuit Court in Bolgatanga has sent the three accused persons involved in massive thefts of government drugs at the Upper East Regional Hospital into police custody for another two weeks.
Relations of the accused persons burst into tears on the court’s premises as police were taking the arrestees back into their cells on Tuesday, 22 August 2023.
The presiding judge, His Honour Sumaila Amadu, took the decision after the police prosecution team asked for more time for further investigations, and adjourned the case to Wednesday September 6, 2023.
“Why are they crying?” an angry man reacted in the court’s yard, referring to the grieving relations.
The polo-shirted man, wearing a fine mix of black and white afro-hair, had joined a crowd in monitoring the court’s sitting on the case on Tuesday (today).
“So, the thousands of lives that were lost because medicines meant for patients were stolen at the hospital did not matter to their own families or what?” he added.
“Maybe they don’t know the amount of public anger following this case,” another man backed the mid-greyed man. “The police should go after the rest of the cartel and bring them here to face it.”
The accused persons— Raymond Asoke, 36, Fasilat Raheem, 48, and Bridget Banoeyelle, 33— are members of the hospital’s staff.
They were arrested in the first week of August, 2023, after a Media Without Borders investigation undertaken by the author of this report blew the cover of a cartel shoplifting medications from the hospital’s stores.
Asoke, a driver at the facility, was grabbed on Friday, 4 August 2023, as he was packing the stolen boxes of medicines at night from a building (where the cartel had always kept medications stolen from the government hospital) to relocate them.
Raheem, the hospital’s drug storekeeper who asked the driver to relocate the stolen medicines with her car, was arrested the same night.
Banoeyelle, an assistant dispensary officer at the hospital’s pharmacy who owns the building where the stolen government medicines were being kept, was taken into custody in the early hours of Saturday, 5 August 2023.
Thirty-four boxes, containing assorted medicines supplied to the hospital by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and bearing boldly written not-for-sale warnings on their wrappings, were retrieved from the building during the first arrest.
The three hospital staff members subsequently were arraigned at the Circuit Court on Monday, 7 August 2023.
They were remanded on their first appearance into police custody for two weeks and handed another 2-week remand on their second appearance today.
Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org