Bolgatanga: Court remands 3 hospital staff for 2 weeks over drug theft

A Circuit Court in Bolgatanga has remanded the three members of the Upper East Regional Hospital’s staff who were exposed and arrested last week for stealing 34 boxes of assorted government drugs from the hospital.

Investigative journalist Edward Adeti exposed the cartel involved in the thefts, leading to their separate arrests on Friday, August 4, 2023, and Saturday, August 5, 2023.

The three suspects— Raymond Asoke, a driver at the hospital, Fasilat Raheem, the hospital’s drug storekeeper, and Bridget Noeyelle, an assistant dispensary officer at the hospital’s pharmacy— are being charged for stealing, abetment of stealing and conspiracy.

They pleaded not guilty when they were arraigned on Monday, August 5, 2023. Their lawyers applied for their bail but the police prosecution team opposed the application.

Giving their reasons for opposing the bail application, the police said the suspects had declined to mention those who had been buying the stolen government drugs from them and argued that further investigations were needed to track their buyers.

The court, presided over by His Honour Sumaila Amadu, considered the points made by the police prosecution team and accordingly remanded the three suspects into police custody for two weeks. The case was adjourned to Tuesday August 22, 2023.

Edward Adeti launched the investigations in 2022, following public complaints about drug shortages at the regional hospital. The drug shortages are said to have resulted in untimely deaths of patients.

His months-long investigations uncovered a building in Bolgatanga, the regional capital, where the stolen drugs were always hidden in many boxes before they were transported to the Northern Region for resale. The building is situated outside the hospital’s premises.

Raymond Asoke (the hospital’s driver) was sent at night by Fasilat Raheem (the hospital’s drug storekeeper) on Friday, August 4, 2023 to relocate the stolen drugs from the building. But Adeti, knowing their move, led a team of police officers from the Divisional Police Command in Bolgatanga to the scene to effect the arrests of the perpetrators.

The building, where the drugs were being kept, belongs to Bridget Noeyelle, who is also a wife to an administrator of a Ghana Health Service (GHS) regional health directorate.

The stolen drugs were supplied to the regional hospital by the Ministry of Health (MoH). There is a notice on the boxes that says the drugs are not for sale. The stolen drugs were produced in 2023 and are due to expire in 2025.

Source: Starr FM

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