Police in Norway are investigating the theft of Ghanaian Ashanti crown jewels at a Hotel in Oslo, Norway where Ashanti King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II representing Ghana at a conference in Norway was staying.
The Telegraph reports that the Norwegian tabloid VG Nett, says the crown jewels were packed in a suitcase that was stolen at the reception desk in the lobby of the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel.
The hotel was hosting the Norwegian-African Business Summit.
VG Nett reports that Eivind Fjeldstad, leader of the Norwegian-African Business Association, said "As hosts for His Majesty, we are terribly sorry about this."
The Ashanti crown jewels, passed down the succession of Ashanti Kings or Asantehene, from King Osei Tutu I, founder of the Ashanti Empire, are considered priceless and they are used by the Asantehene when he performs ceremonial duties.
The BBC reports that the secretary of King Osei Tutu, Kofi Owusu Boateng, said that the jewels are "of great personal value" and cultural significance. He said in a statement: "Anyone carrying something of great personal value will understand what a great loss it is when it is stolen. And for anyone who knows our tradition it will be clear that these crown jewels have tremendous value."
Norway police say that they have "good" surveillance images and are trying to identify the suspects, the BBC reports.
According to The Telegraph, Inspector Marius Erlandssen in charge of the investigation, told AFP: “On Wednesday around 1pm, a suitcase belonging to the king of Ghana was stolen in the lobby of a hotel.We have video footage of a man leaving with the suitcase. We are working on identifying him. There might be other people involved.”
AFP reports that questions have been raised in Ghana after the theft was reported whether it could lead to the king dethroned. The Asantehene's secretary, in quick response to the speculations, said in a radio interview with the BBC that there was no reason for such speculations because only a few jewels, rings and headwear, were stolen. AFP reports he said: “It’s not such a big deal as people are speculating.”
Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II came to the throne in 1999 as the 16th Asantehene in direct succession to Osei Tutu I who founded the dynasty in 1701.
According to the Daily Mail, "Ashanti kings are often heavily adorned in ornate golden jewelry when they make public appearances. Historians say it is meant to symbolize the power and prestige of the Ashanti people, and many of the jewels hold symbolic spiritual meaning."
The Asantehene is a revered figurehead monarch in Ghana. He his barred by the constitution of the country from participating in national politics.
Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was educated at the Institute of Professional Studies(IPS) and later at the Polytechnic of North London, now London Metropolitan University,