Government mum on refusal to release body of Frederick Ofosu

The government has yet to explain why the body of Ghanaian asylum seeker Frederick Ofosu has not been released, two weeks after his suicide

Frederick Ofosu
Frederick Ofosu

The government has yet to explain why the body of Frederick Ofosu has not been released after the Ghanaian asylum seeker committed suicide more than two weeks ago. 

Questions sent to the ministry for home affairs about the delay in the release of the body were sent earlier this week and a spokesperson said that the answers were given by minister Carmelo Abela at a press conference given three days after Ofosu’s death. 

During the press conference, the minister confirmed that Ofosu was denied temporary protection three times and his repatriation to Ghana was delayed by an unpaid court fine. 

Upon being faced with the incongruity of the answer, the spokesperson referred the questions to the police. The questions remained unanswered by the time of going to print.  

MaltaToday is informed that the police are claiming that they have not established with certainty the identity of Ofosu.

The delay is being seen by some quarters of the refugee community as a tactic to quell the anger which the suicide generated, given that Ofosu was refused protection several times.

Frederick Ofosu was found strangled with an electric cable in a Qawra building site on Saturday, 18 February and left a recorded message explaining why he killed himself.

Abela had gone on to shed doubt on the existence of the recording. 

Ofosu apparently said he was being made to feel like a criminal, when he had done nothing wrong.

In a press conference given three days later, home affairs minister Carmelo Abela said the Ghanaian had been refused THPn status three times, and that in September 2016 he had applied for assisted voluntary return: a programme that grants returning migrants a financial support package. 

But the process had to be halted, due to pending fines he had yet to pay on a 2016 court case. 

In July 2016, Ofosu was accused of damaging his rented apartment in St Paul’s Bay. But in the proceedings, Ofosu said that his attempts to go back to Ghana were being hampered by excessive bureaucracy and told the court that he intentionally smashed the furniture of his rented apartment in a desperate cry for attention to his plight. 

Ofosu came to Malta to flee extreme poverty and worked for a number of years, but after he lost his job he was faced with a number of demands from the authorities, including documentation he could not provide.

He was handed a suspended one-year prison sentence and ordered to pay an €800 fine. He was also ordered to pay the landlord €2,115.