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Lulu-Briggs was dead before he arrived in Ghana, says judge

Lulu-Briggs was dead before he arrived in Ghana, says judge
March 28
15:29 2020
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Eleanor Barnes-Botchway, judge of an Accra magistrate district court, kaneshie, has ruled out the claim that Benson Lulu-Briggs, founder of Moni Pulo Limited, died in Ghana.

The death of Lulu-Briggs on December 27, 2018, in Accra, Ghana, had created controversy among members of his family.

Seinye, his widow, who had travelled with him, was accused of having a hand in his death but she denied the allegation.

In a ruling delivered on March 20, Barnes-Botchway said the coroner’s inquest into the death of Lulu-Briggs showed that he did not die in Accra.

She said the deceased died long before he arrived in Ghana and that his death occurred in Nigeria.

She said reports from the police and doctors agreed that the deceased was already dead on arrival at the airport clinic and that his body had undergone rigor mortis at the time he was taken out of the aircraft.

She concluded that the deceased died at least two hours before he was taken to the airport clinic for examination, and consequently in Nigeria.

“I have found that none of the documents made available to me, including the autopsy report sets out the actual time of the death of the Deceased, except that the statement of Dr. Asante-Bremang Moses and the Medical Cause of Death issued by Dr. Killian Boampong-Konam of Airport Clinic record that the Deceased was declared clinically dead at 6:57 pm on December 27th 2018,” she said.

“I have also read the Statement of one Haye Philemon, given to the Ghana Police, which is to the effect that at the time the Deceased was being taken out of the aircraft, his hand had dropped like he was lifeless and that he had become heavier than normal.

“It is instructive that the medical doctors unanimously agreed in their various Statements to the Ghana Police, that the Deceased was dead on arrival at the Airport Clinic and his body showed a ‘degree of stiffness’, which indicates that the process of ‘rigor mortis’ had already set in with respect to the Deceased’s body.

“It is trite knowledge that the process of rigor mortis sets in between 2-4 hours after a person has died. From the Statements of the persons, who were on board the flight with the Deceased, given to the Ghana Police, one fact remains undisputed, which is that the Deceased was rushed to the Airport Clinic immediately upon arrival at the Kotoka International Airport after almost one (1) hour of flight time from Port Harcourt in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I therefore conclude that the Deceased died at least 2 hours before he was taken to the Airport Clinic for examination by the medical doctors and considering the flying time between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Ghana, it is my considered opinion, from the evidence available that the Deceased died before arrival in the Republic of Ghana and indeed, departure from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. From the available evidence therefore, I am led to conclude further that the Deceased died on or before 4:57pm on December 27th 2018.

“From my conclusions reached under point 1, on the time of the Deceased’s death, I am undoubtedly led to the conclusion on the place of death of the Deceased, which is, that the Deceased died in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and before his arrival in Accra, Ghana.”

She, however, gave a recommendation to the “appropriate authorities in the Federal Republic of Nigeria in accordance with prevailing laws”, to probe into what killed the 88-year-old deceased.

“While I consider the autopsy report as only evidential in the determination of the cause of death of the Deceased, I have made an observation which I believe will impact on the thoroughness of the autopsy report and the proper determination of the cause of death of the Deceased, “she said.

“My observation is that the autopsy report notes on page 5 under the heading ‘Ghana Standards Board Forensic Science Laboratory’ that ‘a sample of the liver sent was sent to the Ghana Standards Authority for toxicology (opiates, common poisons, drugs) but could only detect formalin (GSA-FM-T172-A) with a remark that the formalin screens out the common poisons and drugs if present and therefore cannot be detected’.

“I am concerned that, without a conclusive report on the presence/absence of toxins, poisons or drugs in the Deceased body, the determination of the cause of death of the Deceased will be premature and incomplete and therefore I recommend that the said samples of the liver and any other required body samples, be sent to a more clinically advanced laboratory, for conclusive biochemical and toxicological testing of the presence/ absence of toxins, poisons or drugs, before the cause of death can be determined with certainty.”

After months of legal battles, the body of the deceased was released, on court orders, to his family led by Dumo for burial.

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