By Gifty Arthur
The Police in the Ashanti Region, have charged four nurses, a midwife, a security man (watchman) and an incinerator attendant at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, with conspiracy to steal and stealing a baby, belonging to Suweiba Abdul Mumin.
They were charged last Tuesday, following completion of investigations into the missing baby saga and the failure by the suspects to produce the said baby delivered about a month ago, either dead or alive.
According to the Regional Police Commander, ACP Kofi Boakye, who spoke to The Herald, the suspects have been granted bail, whilst the docket has been forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Department for advice.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has given a 14-day ultimatum to management of KATH to produce 5 more babies declared dead at the facility, but were not given to their parents for burial.
The Ministry, issued the directive yesterday at a news conference, after it concluded investigations into the alleged missing stillbirth babies at the hitherto respected medical facility, early this month.
The action by the police, follows worrying concerns expressed by the Ministry of Health led by its Minister, Sherry Ayitey and outpours of condemnations by members of the public over the missing baby.
Ashanti Region Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), ASP Mohammed Tanko, has also confirmed the charges to Accra-based Joy News’, but would not disclose the identities of the suspects.
He said, investigations are still ongoing to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of the babies.
The latest claim is that the baby was burnt at the incinerator; an unusual way of disposing off dead babies at the hospital.
Suweiba, was reported to have carried the pregnancy for 11 months. Narrating her story, she said, a nurse showed her the baby, and that it was not dead. She was later made to thumbprint some documents to consent that her baby died at birth, however, the whereabouts of the corpse has led to one story to another.
This angered some youth from a Zongo community in Kumasi, who stormed the hospital and assaulted nurses and doctors, while demanding the body of the baby to bury it in accordance with Islamic rites.
Following that episode, the doctors and nurses resorted to a flimsy strike action, claiming their safety could not be assured, but upon assurance from the Health Ministry and the Police, they returned to work last Friday.
The Gender and Social Protection Ministry, recently released a statement asking for a probe into the matter and announced a decision to offer counseling for Madam Suweiba.
But grave concerns have also been raised about the loud silence of outspoken human rights lawyers, who have suddenly found their voices and are prepared to grant legal assistance to some three ladies, who were reportedly molested at the Accra Mall, but have remained silent on the trauma of the 36 year-old Madam Suweiba.
Members of Parliament (MPs), especially those from the Ashanti Region who are usually loud on issues involving the Region, have also failed to comment on the issue.
Already, the incident has gathered momentum on social media platforms and interestingly enough, some Ghanaians in the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, USA and China, have joined forces and formed a group called the Coalition of Ghanaian Youth for Justice for Suweiba demanding clarity and justice on the matter.
On facebook for instance, there is a page created on Wednesday, asking the Authorities of KATH “Where is the Baby?” which has 2,462 likes as at the time of filing this report.
The page has pictures of joyous mothers holding their babies’ whilst the creator of the page asks a very nagging question “Every mother holds her baby…why can’t Suweiba? Is she less human? If not, why the silence?”Last week, the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharabutu, asked for presidential intervention in unraveling the mystery surrounding the alleged baby theft.
Meanwhile, the special assistant to National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Mr. Brian Acheampong, has revealed that reliable information he has point to very disturbing news that in all five babies got missing at the hospital.
Speaking to Montie FM, Mr. Achampong, who is referred to in the NPP as “Chief of Staff” for Jake Obetsebi Lamptey said, he is gearing up to organize concerned Ghanaians to demonstrate against KATH in the coming days.
The Health Ministry, has given KATH 14 days to find the baby of Suweiba and the other babies that have gone missing.
According to the Minister on February 5, when Suweiba delivered, there were 15 other deliveries at the Hospital, five including Madam Suweiba’s died, but their bodies could not be traced.
She has, therefore, given an ultimatum to KATH to produce all the babies.
Ms. Ayitey, who said this at a press conference yesterday, gave account of the Ministry’s investigation saying, even though the doctor who delivered the baby claimed he felt the heart beat of the baby, the nurse claimed she did not.
In Suweiba’s case, the hospital authorities say they cannot locate the body of the baby.
Nurses say an Orderly, hired only two weeks before the incident, picked the baby with instructions to take it to the morgue, but a search at the mortuary revealed the body had not been deposited there.
The Orderly, initially claimed he incinerated the body of the baby, but the hospital authorities have denied the claim saying, the incinerator had not been used in several days.
The Orderly, has since been handed over to the police and is in custody.