BBC: Ghana’s Ashanti crown jewels stolen in Norway hotel

Otumfuo Osei Tutu sits in state in full regalia

Police in Norway are investigating the theft of some of the Ghanaian Ashanti crown jewels from a hotel in Oslo.

The jewels were travelling with King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the ruler of the Ashanti, who is representing Ghana at a conference in the Norwegian capital.

A suitcase was snatched from the lobby of the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel.

The jewels, amassed over generations and considered to be priceless, are used by the king when he performs ceremonial duties.

Police are quoted in the Norwegian media as saying that they have “good” surveillance pictures, and are now trying to identify suspects in the footage.

“Anyone carrying something of great personal value will understand what a great loss it is when it is stolen,” the king’s secretary Kofi Owusu Boateng was quoted as saying.

“And for anyone who knows our tradition it will be clear that these crown jewels have tremendous value.”

However, he later told the BBC’s Newsday program it was “not such a big deal” and that only some rings and headgear were taken.

King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II ascended the throne in 1999 as the 16th ruler, or Asantehene.

The Asantehene is a revered figurehead for Ghana’s largest ethnic group. He adjudicates in disputes and is closely involved in local issues.

However the king – like other traditional leaders – is barred by the constitution from taking part in Ghanaian politics.

Stricken by the turn of events, Mr. Owusu Boateng, Secretary to Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, says the delegation in Oslo-Norway suspects the involvement of some officials at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, where jewels of the Asantehene were stolen.

Speaking exclusively to from Norway, Mr. Owusu Boateng pointed out that the circumstances which led to the stealing of the treasured jewels raises lots of concerns and speculations.

With a wobbly tone, the secretary explained that the priceless jewels contained in a portable suitcase reached the hotel on Wednesday whilst Otumfuo and his team were in London attending a separate assignment.

“The suitcase got to the hotel whilst we (Otumfuo and his team) were in London. We are told that when the suitcase containing the jewels was handed to the hotel porter somebody engaged him in a conversation and within a few seconds the suitcase was nowhere to be found.

So clearly the whole thing was organized,” Mr. Owusu Boateng lamented.

The suitcase got to the Hotel six hours earlier before Otumfuo and his entourage arrived at Oslo, according to the secretary.

He was however optimistic that the police would be able to apprehend the culprits and retrieve the jewels before the delegation head back home.

“We have absolute confidence in the police and we believe that with their sophisticated gadgets and professionalism, they will be able to arrest the people involved before we leave here”, he added.

Asked if the delegation was concerned about the safety of Otumfuo in the hotel, he answered “No, we are not worried about his safety because we have been assured of maximum protection by the security”.

It was in this direction that Mr. Owusu Boateng dismissed speculations that Otumfuo could be dethroned should he return home without the said jewels.

“Whoever said that Otumfuo will be dethroned because of this is ignorant about the customs and traditions of Asanteman, and such statements should be treated with contempt,” Mr. Owusu Boateng explained.


Posted by on Oct 18 2012. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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