The fierce fight over the death and mortal remains of one of Nigeria’s prominent business moguls, philanthropist and statesmen, Chief Benson Lulu-Briggs, whose body is stuck in Ghana, and yet to be buried as a result of the quest to establish how he died, has taken an interesting turn with the name of Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, popping up.
The claim against the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ledzokuku Constituency in the Greater Accra Region is that, he had influenced a colleague medical doctor at the Airport Clinic by name; Killian Boampong-Konam, to declare the 88-year old Nigerian, as having died through natural means.
Kilian’s unprofessional conduct, is also now part of an international investigation, involving Ghana Police and Nigerian Police, as well as, Interpol, since it is not clear ,where Benson Lulu-Briggs, whose corpse is currently at the Transition Funeral Home Haatso, Accra, died.
His wife Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye Lulu-Brigg, had rushed the deceased in an ambulance belonging to the Airport Clinic from the tarmac of Kotoka International Airport (KIA) on December 27, 2018, in an unconscious state from a chartered aircraft, which had flown the couple and others, including his private nurse to Ghana to celebrate Christmas with Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, but Chief Lulu-Briggs, could not get to his Trassaco Valley Estate home here in Ghana, as he was pronounced dead few hours later.
His three senior children namely; Dumo Lulu-Briggs, Senibo Lulu-Briggs, Sofiri-Lulu-Briggs, are not sure whether their beloved father, died in Nigeria before being put on the aircraft, or died onboard the aircraft or died here in Ghana, as claimed by his widow.
They are also disputing “Cardiac Arrest” as the cause of death of their father, which was issued by Dr. Boampong-Konam, the Medical Director of the Airport Clinic.
Their suspicion over Benson Lulu-Briggs death, is reinforce by the fact that, officials at the Airport Clinic, including Dr. Boampong-Konam, did not report the case to the Airport Police before proceeding to issue a death certificate dated December 28, 2018; a day after pronouncing their father died.
Dr. Boampong-Konam, is said to have mentioned Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, New Patriotic Party (NPP)MP for Ledzokuku Constituency to team of investigators from Ghana, Nigeria and Interpol, as the one who called him on phone and pushed him to declare Chief Lulu-Briggs, as having died from a natural cause and handed over the corpse to his widow.
Strangely, Dr. Boampong-Konam’s name on the death certificate is captured as Killian Boampong-Konadu, different from what Airport Clinic, has in their records.
Another strange thing is that, the death certificate was issued by Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital where Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, is the Board Chairman, and there are suspicions he might have influenced the death certificate, using his connection to the nation’s premier hospital.
More bizarre, are report that last Thursday, a Pathologist again from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Lawrence Adusei, stormed the 37 Military Hospital to carry out an autopsy against a court directive, which asked a particular pathologist to do.
This has forced the High Chief, O.B. Lulu-Briggs’ three oldest sons, to finally break their silence, since their deceased father’s “untimely death upon arrival or before arrival at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra under bizarre circumstances”.
In an interview with the sons to hear their side of the story published by the stepmother, Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, Chief of the Lulu-Briggs family of the Abonema, Port Harcourt in the Rivers State of Nigeria told The Herald, that the family, had seen their father the day before his trip to Accra and he looked quite well.
They were not told that their stepmother had planned to bring their ailing father to Accra on a purported Christmas vacation. They also discovered that their father, in spite of being sick, was locked up in chartered aircraft together with some others persons, for five hours at the Port Harcourt Airport, under the pretext of waiting for a landing permit to travel to Accra.
“We had since found that there was indeed, a landing permit issued with estimated time of arrival put at 1pm, Ghana time”. The trip from Nigeria to Ghana is about 45 minutes, however, Dr. Boampong-Konam in a medical report mentioned that the 88-year late founder and chairman of Moni Pulo Limited, an oil exploration and production company, was brought to the Airport Clinic at 6:42pm and “was confirmed clinically dead at about 6:57pm” – some 15 minutes after arrival.
The family’s concern, has been that their stepmother surreptitiously travelled with their deceased father to Accra, without as much a medical clearance to travel.
Also, after their stepmother realized that her husband had passed, upon arrival in Accra, she failed to report the matter to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), or the Ghana Airports Authority Limited, and neither to airport police station for a Coroner’s inquest to be conducted as required by the laws of Ghana, considering that her husband, died outside of a medical facility.
Rather, she procured a medical cause of death certificate to be quickly issued, deposited the body of the deceased at Transitions Funeral Home and procured a permit to export the body of the deceased without the consent of the family of the deceased.
The family, considering that their stepmother, had a few years prior, withdrawn their father’s medication under the pretext that he had been healed, which led to their father being unable to speak or walk, were very worried about the behaviour of their step mother.
They were even more concerned when the widow, contrary to their native law and custom, refused to hand over the mortuary receipts and medical cause of the death certificate to the family, thus preventing the family of the deceased from taking the body, and had a memorial service for the deceased in Accra, without the consent of the family of the deceased.
The principal members of the family, reported the matter to the Nigeria police, who commenced an investigation into the circumstances of the death of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
The Nigerian Police Force, through Interpol, came to Ghana to seek the assistance of the Ghana Police Service, CID to investigate the death of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
The Ghana Police, obtained an order to conduct an autopsy on the deceased on Friday July 12, 2019, which autopsy was frustrated by lawyers for the widow, Kimathi and Partners, as well as Transitions Funeral Home.
The Ghana police set another date for the autopsy and informed the parties at a meeting, which was subsequently confirmed by a letter dated July 15, 2019.
The contents of the letter issued by the Ghana Police, was to the effect that the autopsy would be done at 37 Military Hospital and among other things, that three sets of samples, would be taken from the deceased for further testing, each party (the police, the widow and the principal members of the family) getting one sample each.
On Thursday, July 18, 2019, following an application to the Court, the High Court, Accra presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, adopted the agreement of the parties as the Order of the Court, which said Order among other things, confirmed that three sets of samples for examination would be taken during the autopsy and the Police, shall take one sample, while the two parties would also take one each if so requested.
But contrary to the court order, in a rather bizarre twist of events, the autopsy was conducted by a certain Dr. Lawrence Adusei, an intruder, an interloper, instead of the named Col. (Dr.) Attoh.
The Herald is informed that Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa, a former Head of the Department of Pathology in the University of Ghana Medical School, was to present on behalf of the family, but felt restraint by Dr. Lawrence Adusei, famously remembered for carrying out the autopsy on the murdered MP JB Danquah, but failed to submit a report.
Again, Dr. Lawrence Adusei, in blatant disregard for the said Court Order, did not only refuse to take three (3) samples for examination, but also emphatically denied the parties’ request for a sample.
This means the autopsy was conducted in blatant breach of the aforesaid Court Order. The principal members of the family, have since petitioned the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, regarding the credibility of the autopsy.
The lawyer for the principal members of the family, Nana Agyei Baffour Awuah Esq., upon receiving the information that the widow was planning to take the corpse outside of Ghana, and outside the reach of the family members of the deceased, immediately after the autopsy, applied for an order of injunction restraining the widow from perpetrating such an unlawful action in Ghana.
The Herald’s information is that, the principal members of the family ,have reached out to the widow, through her lawyers, to resolve the issues, so that they can arrange to take the mortal remains of their late father and her husband, organise a befitting burial for him, as soon as possible, the response of the widow, has been two writs of summons and a motion for Injunction issued against the Chief of the family, and the older sons of the deceased.
The matter continues in the High Court, Accra to determine, who is the proper party, to take the body of the deceased for burial.
Meanwhile, the investigation of the Ghana Police Service, the Nigerian Police Force and Interpol, continues in order to establish the circumstances surrounding the death of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
When The Herald reached the CID boss, Maame YaaTiwaa Addo-Danquah, she confirmed the ongoing investigations.
She also revealed that she was waiting for the autopsy report from the pathologist. The CID boss again confirmed the family’s claim that Col. (Dr.) Attoh of the 37 Military Hospital, was to do the autopsy and not Dr. Lawrence Adusei of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.