Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Akufo has said that incomplete investigations have delayed the prosecution of persons suspected to have deliberately set aflame the Central Medical Store.
According to her, information gathered so far from investigations into the matter are weak hence the delay in initiating legal proceeding against suspects.
Medicines worth millions of dollars were destroyed in that inferno. Over 18 people were alleged to have been involved in the incident which happened in 2015.
“There were many drugs which were destroyed in the fire. We don’t have the values. If you study the docket, you will see that the investigations is geared towards charging the suspects for causing financial loss to the state. You need to know the amount involved for each of these of these 18 accused persons. It was not there… The advice was given that they should also go to the bank accounts of these suspects so we could see if there could be tracing of their transactions because some were suspected to have taken drugs from there and sold to the private parties. It is quite a complex case and we need the assistance of the investigators to do these things because we don’t investigate.
The Central Medical Store was razed in 2015, and preliminary investigations blamed it on arson.
In 2016, 12 officials of the Ghana Health Service who were accused of playing various roles in the arson were also interdicted, but the status of the case is not yet known.
Before the fire, there were reports that the then Health Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, had initiated investigations into allegations of corrupt practices at the store.
UK Parliament worried over Central Medical Store fire
A former UK High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin, in June 2017, disclosed that the UK Parliament was concerned about the Central Medical Stores fire.
According to him, the UK pumped about 4 million pounds worth of medicines into Ghana, which were destroyed in the fire, hence the UK Parliament’s seeming interest in the case.
“In the Central Medical stores, there were 4 million pounds worth of medicines bought by the UK through our DFID programme that were there and were destroyed and we had to account for that money and questions were asked in the UK Parliament. So we had to say what had happened and what was being done about it. So I think that was a legitimate reason for us to raise our concerns,” added Jon Benjamin.
Source: Jonas Nyabor