Four prominent citizens of Ghana, including a former deputy minister have been accused of vandalizing the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital mortuary and making away with the remains of the Paramount Chief of the Builsa Traditional Area, Naab Dr. Ayeita Azantilow.
The four, who appeared in court on Monday to answer charges of conspiracy to cause damage and causing damage to the mortuary included a former Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Sylvester Azantilow.
The others were Azagsuk Azantilow, a retired Director of Education, Edward Azantilow, the Builsa North New Patriotic Party Youth Organiser and Dr Kennedy Azantilow, a medical officer formerly based in the USA and currently practicing at Prestea in the Western Region.
They all pleaded not guilty and the Bolgatanga District Magistrate's Court presided over by Abdul Hakeem granted them a bail of 10 million cedis each with one surety to be justified. They were to return to court on February 12. The court also ordered them to report themselves to the police once every two weeks until the case was disposed of.
Azagsuk Azantilow, Sylvester Azantilow and Edward Azantilow were to report themselves to the Sandema Police, while Dr Kennedy Azantilow was asked by the court to report to the Prestea Police in the Western Region where he was working.
A fifth person, ASP Robert Azantilow, a police officer based in Tema New Town in the Greater Accra Region who was charged with the same offence did not appear in court. According to the police, they had to seek clearance from the Police Administration before putting him before court in line with Service Regulations.
The Upper East Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ofosu Mensah Gyeabour, briefing the media in Bolgatanga said at a Regional Security Council meeting held on January 24, this year, it was agreed that for security reasons, the mortal remains of the late Sandem Naab, then being kept at the Bolgatanga Hospital mortuary should not be released to any family member without the prior approval of the REGSEC.
He explained that the decision of the REGSEC was based on information that two royal factions, the Azantilow and the Afoko factions had taken entrenched positions over the burial of the late eminent chief.
“Since these disagreements can trigger off conflict between two royal families and spread to other parts of the traditional area, the REGSEC decided that it was prudent to appeal to the families to stay off all burial and funeral arrangements and rather come together for a consensus to be reached over the various points of disagreement,” DCP Gyeabour explained.
According to him, in view of that the REGESEC referred the issue to the Regional House of Chiefs to give appropriate recommendations as to how best to address it.
DCP Gyeabour said on January 26, 2007, while the REGSEC was meeting with a representative of the Regional House of Chiefs, the police received a report from the Regional Hospital authorities to the effect that around 12: 30 pm on that day, a mob attacked the hospital mortuary, vandalized it and went away with the mortal remains of the late chief without going through due process.
Source: Daily Graphic