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Crime & Punishment of Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Source: The Herald

FDB Arrests Expired Goods Dealer

A joint team of Food and Drugs Board (FDB) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has arrested Patrick Gyasi, a trader, for trading in expired products at the Central Business District of Accra.

Gyasi, who is having his second stint with FDB taskforce over selling expired goods, has spent the weekend in police custody, assisting in their investigation.

The arrest which took place last Friday, was aided by a tip off by a journalist, Mr. Justice Annan, whose undercover investigation revealed that the suspect has been dealing in expired goods which he buys from Melcom Group of Companies. Mr. Annan showed a video footage of some of the expired products from the company.

After the alarming report, the FDB and the CID together with Mr. Annan, went to the Melcom shop in Accra to verify the authenticity of the report.

Acting Head of Food Inspectorate of the FDB, Ebenezer Kofi Essel, who spoke to The Herald, said no expired product was found at Melcom last Thursday, when they visited the shop mentioned by Mr. Annan on the video tape, implying that extensive investigation must be carried out into the report of the journalist.

Meanwhile, on the same day, inspections carried out at a warehouse named ‘First Gate’ at Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) area in Accra, by the team, discovered that the warehouse had a ‘Don Simon Fruit Drink’ which had its expiring date altered, Mr. Essel revealed.

He said the actual date which was supposed to have expired in March this year, had been extended to September this year. Sensing danger, the team locked the warehouse, and requested that the caretaker who was not present at the time of their inspection, report to him at the office of the FDB for interrogation.

He said Mr. Patrick Gyasi who reported himself at the FDB office last Friday, was arrested by the Police, although he claimed that the alleged expired fruit drinks were not his but belonged to another Patrick who was readily not available for questioning.

According to Mr. Essel, during questioning, the suspect admitted that he buys from Melcom, but refuted that the items were expired goods. Mr. Gyasi disclosed that the last time he bought goods from Melcom was when he bought some 600 cartons of dairy products from the company, but said that those products have been sold.

Not very convinced based on what they had seen at the warehouse, the acting Head of Food Inspectorate of FDB said that the Board was going to continue with its investigations from where those products were sold, to verify whether truly, the products were not expired.

Mr. Essel disclosed to The Herald that Mr. Gyasi was somewhere in 2008-2009 caught by the FDB changing the label of Lele Baked Beans with Henz Baked Beans to sell to the unsuspecting buyers.

The FDB, he said, handed Mr. Gyasi over to the Accra Central Police at the time, but nothing has been heard on the case since then. He told the paper that the FDB was going to contact the Police about that case.

Mr. Essel assured the public that the FDB is doing all it can to make sure that food and drugs that were sold in the market are wholesome, but urged the public to be wary of the goods they buy since there are still miscreants out there who are bent on doing harm to unsuspecting consumers.

He again urged shop owners and companies to look out for people who come to them to buy goods in large quantities which are near expiration.