On December 27, 2018, a chartered jet by name, “Vista Charter Service Aircraft” believed to be incorporated in Malta, flew from Port Harcourt;one of Nigeria’s busiest cities and landed at the Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport (KIA) at about 5pm, and series of security breaches begun in what was supposed to be a highly guarded state security zone in the country.
Ensuing events since that December 27, 2018, raised doubts about the alertness of Ghana’s security setup, the proper administration of the airport by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCIA), the role of Ghana Immigration Service there, the presence of National Security and Bureau National Investigations(BNI) and several others in-charge of the airport in an era of terrorists threats.
A picture is painted of lose situation where anything, especially illegal stuff like narcotic drugs, weapons and huge sums of money, can be moved to and from Ghana through the KIA, without any stringent security checks and clearance, but the use of political connections, big money and influence.
On the day in question, an ambulance belonging to the Airport Clinic stormed the tarmac of KIA to carry what was later discovered to be the dead body of one of Nigeria’s respected businessmen and traditional rulers;High Chief, Dr. Benson Lulu-Briggs, founder and chairman of Moni Pulo Limited, an oil exploration and production company.
The situation was neither reported to the Ghana Police Service, Immigration Service, National Security, BNI, nor Civil Aviation Authority, until his three sons started raising hell against their stepmother, Dr. Mrs. SeinyeLulu-Briggs, who they accused of flying their 88-year old ailing father to Ghana to celebrate Christmas with his friend Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, without their knowledge.
Interestingly, before his death, High Chief Lulu-Briggs, could not talk nor walk. He had been in a wheelchair and could not bath and feed himself, according to family sources, hence could not have demanded to celebrate Christmas with his friend, Asantehene.
The wealthy Benson Lulu-Briggs, is said to have a huge personality in Nigeria, hence Ghana’s image is being dented in the Nigerian press with this case.
Already, Interpol is chasing the trails together with the Nigerian Police and their Ghanaian counterpart here in Ghana, to know how and where died.
It is not clear, which security officer allowed the Airport Clinic ambulance onto the KIA tarmac to fetch the corpse to the Clinic for inspection and certification as dead, but one Dr. Killian Boampong-Konam; the Medical Director of Airport Clinic, has in a one-page medical report on High Chief Lulu-Briggs, given some pointers to establish how the corpse got out of KIA.
The Herald’s police sources, have also revealed that Dr. Boampong-Konam, has since given a police statement in which he mentioned Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ledzokuku Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, as having influenced the declaration of the 88-year old Nigerian, as having died through “Cardiac Arrest”. He had called him by phone to fix it.
The Medical Director’s report on the corpse which is currently in the morgue of Transition Funeral Home Haatso, Accra, seven months since he passed away, said the “High Chief was rushed to the Airport Clinic in an unconscious state, haven (sic) been picked minutes earlier by the Clinic’s Ambulance in same state from the tarmac at the Kotoka International Airport on 27th December, 2018 at about 6:42pm. His vitals were unrecordable (i.e.Purse, Blood Pressure and Respiration). His oxygen saturation was also unrecordable.”
Dr. Boampong–Konam’s medical report interestingly dated June 11, 2019 (six months after death), said “On further examination, he had a Tracheostomy Tube and Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) tube in-situ and had some degree of stiffness. His accompanying relations revealed that he had suffered multiple ailments in the past (some of which had necessitated surgeries, hence the tubes) including Parkinson disease”.
The report stated that “Cardiorespiratory Resuscitation (CPR) was initiated in an effort to revive him but this was unsuccessful. He was confirmed clinically dead at about 6:57pm. Pending possible autopsy, Death Certificate (F.No.77914) was issued to Dr. Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs of House Number 147 Trasacco Valley Estate, East Legon, and Accra who identified herself as the deceased’s wife. The provisional cause of death was stated as Cardiac Arrest and the antecedent cause of death was stated as Parkinson’s Disease”.
The Herald’s information is that, before High Chief Lulu-Briggs’ corpse was moved to the Transition Funeral Home , it was first sent to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for autopsy on the orders of the MP; Dr. Okoe Boye, who is also the Board Chairman of that Hospital, however, that autopsy saying he died through “Cardiac Arrest” has since been disputed by his three senior children.
The three 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 while onboard the aircraft or died here in Ghana as claimed by his widow;Dr. Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs.
They are also questioning why Dr. Boampong-Konam and other officials at the Airport Clinic, 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 dead.
Indeed, a security officer on board the aircraft has told Ghana Police in statement that, High Chief Lulu-Briggs’ body was heavier and unresponsive to his environment when the aircraft they travelled in touched down at the KIA on December 27, 2019.
Ilaye Philemon, who said he was employed as a Close Protection Officer to the Executive Vice Chairman of MONIPULO; Dr. Mrs. Lulu-Briggs, disclosed in his police statement that High Chief Lulu-Briggs was heavier than he had been when he personally carried him onto the aircraft at the Port Harcourt Airport in Rivers State –Nigeria, adding his – bodyguard had trousers torn in the process, suggesting the Nigerian business mogul died before arriving in Ghana.
Ilaye Philemon, revealed that his boss’ husband throughout the trip, did not make any noise and gesture, adding he looked stiff from Port Harcort to Accra.
He further revealed that, in the process of removing High Chief Lulu-Briggs from the chartered aircraft into the waiting ambulance, he looked unconscious with his head falling backwards, and had to be repositioned together with his hands.
The 39-year old bodyguard revealed how he and others onboard the aircraft had to wait for about 4 to 5 hours in the aircraft at the Port Harcourt Airporttogether with the ailing man also onboard. Interestingly, his statement was dated 11th July, 2019.
He wrote, “my name is ILAYE PHILEMON I am from OKRIKA in Rivers State Nigeria I was employed in SOLIAMA LTD on May 2017 to work as a CLOSE PROTECTION OFFICER (C.P.O) to the executive vice chairman of MONIPULO. LMT, on the 27th December 2018 I was on the same flight with my BOSS and her husband travelling to Ghana, Accra, her husband is the high chief O.B LuLu BRIGGS, we boarded the flight in Port Harcout Airport at about 11am to 12noon and stayed in the flight for about 4 to 5hrs waiting at the Airport, reasons for our waiting I don’t know, but after waiting that long the flight finally move to Ghana, but as we were on Air, I only notice when the nurse wanted to check on him, she went to the front and came back again, but she feed him in the flight as we were waiting after feeding him she covered his legs up to his chest to avoid cold after then the high chief was calm and quiet all through our journey he did not make any sound or noise throughout journey till we got to Ghana, my Boss which is the wife of the high chief and Apostle ZillyAggrey, Goodnews, my madam’s P.A named ORIBEE or JAMES and the nurse came down first then myself, Sammy and DATEM, were left to bring the high chief down from the flight, but as we were trying to bring him down, I notice his weight has double, he was much more heavier than when we boarded the flight and as we were coming down from the flight his hands dropped like someone that is not alive. We managed to put his hands together and hold him strongly to make sure he doesn’t fall out of our hands, but his weight was so much than even my trouser I was putting on was turn to his increased weight, so we manage to bring him down safely. When we came down finally from the flight, Sammy now said to madam that chief has lost consciousness that he will need oxygen, they now sent for ambulance to come. The ambulance came after some few minutes we put him inside, myself, Sammy and Datem joined the ambulance to the hospital. When we got there, they now confirmed that our chief is gone, he is not alive again. It was at that point that Sammy now called madam that she should come to the hospital, because they went to arrival as we were rushing him to the hospital, they now came and also confirmed that he is dead.The flight we entered to Ghana was vista Charter Services Air Craft”.
The Herald has also cited a “certified copy of entry in the register of death” 28th December, 2018 made at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital which strangely, had Dr. Boampong-Konam’s name captured as Killian Boampong-Konadu, different from what Airport Clinic, has in their records.
The document, shows he was the qualified medical practitioner who certified cause of death.
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 other 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 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 his death.
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 AgyeiBaffourAwuah 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 Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, she confirmed the ongoing investigation.
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.