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Opinions of Friday, 29 November 2013

Columnist: Atiase, Franklin Kwaku

Profile of FDA Boss Dr Stephen Opuni

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*(compiled by Frankly Kwaku Atiase)*



*NPP head of security accuses NDC of stockpiling arms; Dr Opuni says he is
crazy*

*FDB Boss Breaks 20-Year-Old Friendship With Manhyia MP After Being
‘Threatened’ Over Ashtown Shooting Incident*

*You’re An Idiot – Akamba Fires Dr. Opuni*



*By Ghana News -SpyGhana.com *



Dr. Stephen Opuni, the Executive Director of Food and Drugs Board, has
disputed claims by the opposition New Patriotic Party (*NPP*) that he and
some functionaries of the governing National Democratic Congress (*NDC*)
are plotting Election Day mayhem in *NPP* strongholds.

In an interview with Joy News on Monday, he suggested that such allegations
could only be made by a mentally challenged person.

*Dr Opuni* was responding to comments by Lt Colonel (rtd.) Ababio Srebour,
the head of the *NPP* Security Committee, who alleged that certain
*NDC*members are
*stockpiling* arms with the intent to create chaos in Friday polls.

He reported that that the *NPP*’s intelligence uncovered evidence that Yaw
Boateng Gyan, the National Organiser of the *NDC*, as well as Dr. Opuni and
others are training personnel from around the country to destabilize
elections in areas loyal to the *NPP*. He pointed out that the people
supporting this nefarious and clandestine training are obligated by the
constitution to protect the people.

He also claimed the *NDC* has tasked persons with heavy duty vehicles to
run over any vehicle covered with or hoisting *NPP* paraphernalia and that
about 500 boxes of ballot papers have been hidden in the residence of a
doctor at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

He further alleged that *NDC* operatives procured fake indelible ink to
encourage multiple voting and that a medical doctor at the Dansoman
Polyclinic and his cousin have been tasked to recruit Kokomba boys from the
Northern Region to spread confusion in Kumasi.

He also claimed that utility operators are plotting a nationwide blackout
at exactly 7pm on Election Day when results are being collated.

Mr Srebour therefore called on all Ghanaians, especially the police and
*NPP* functionaries, to be vigilant and safeguard the integrity of the
elections.

Reacting to these allegations, *Dr Opuni* questioned Srebour’s sanity on
the grounds that it is only the Ghana Armed Forces that trains soldiers.

“Soldiers are trained by the military, so may be that person who said this
lost his way from the psychiatric hospital, and we should look for him and
send him back for psychiatric evaluation and treatment.”

*Dr Opuni* believes that the *NPP* is resorting to such allegations because
they know they have lost the election in advance due to the popularity of
President John Mahama and the *NDC*’s Better Ghana Agenda.

Touching on apparently threatening text messages sent to him by *NPP* MP
Mathew Opoku Prempeh, *Dr Opuni* said that upon receiving the first
message, he tried to call Opoku Prempeh for clarification but his calls
were rejected.

He said he later received another text message from the same person
allegedly threatening his life and those of his family.

*Dr Opuni* said that he has reported the issue to the police because it is
a criminal offence to threaten somebody.

Source Joy News Ghana

*FDB Boss Breaks 20-Year-Old Friendship With Manhyia MP After Being
‘Threatened’ Over Ashtown Shooting Incident*

*By Ghana News -SpyGhana.com *


FDB Boss, Dr Stephen Opuni breaking a 20-year-old freindship?

A report according to The Herald Newspaper suggests that FDB CEO, Dr
Stephen Opuni has decided to break up a 20-year-old friendship with the New
Patriotic Party (NPP) *MP* for Manhyia, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh over last
Thursday’s shooting *incident* at Ashtown in the *MP*’s constituency.
The report said, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Dr Opoku-Prempeh, after the
*incident*, has gone sent life-threatening *messages*, warning to finish
his opponent long before they execute their agenda against him.
The report quotes family sources as saying, Dr Opoku-Prempeh had a history
of violence. He twice beat his wife out of the marriage, The Herald learnt.
One of the women, the report says, is related to the Mr Kojo Bonsu of Agoo
Magazine and sportswear, Adidas, fame.
In 2008, during the election runoff, a thug linked to him by name “Sunsum”,
inflicted cutlass wounds on an NDC supporter called “Bucha” in Kumasi in
Napo’s presence, The Herald has been informed. “Sunsum” is still being
sought after by the Kumasi police for that *incident*.
The *MP*, who was last Friday arrested and released on a GH¢30,000 bail
over the shooting *incident*, appears to have had his cup full, as he has
been reported to the Police Criminal Investigations (CID) for sending a
life threatening test *messages* to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of
the Food and Drugs Board (FDB), Dr Stephen Opuni.

Shockingly, *Dr Opuni* has been a long-standing friend of his for 20 years.
In the said text *messages* which The Herald has intercepted, the NPP
*MP*alleged amongst other things that if *Dr
Opuni*’s plans had reached the level of ending he, Dr Opoku-Prempeh’s life,
then he should watch his back as he was prepared and ready for him.
According to the second message, Napo sent to the FDB boss, he noted that
he was going to organize a press conference the following day to expose *Dr
Opuni*, who he claimed had guns and combat boots and some men who had been
tasked to cause mayhem ahead of Friday’s elections.
The message read, “Boss we all have one life. If your plans have extended
to take mine, then watch out. We will speak at my press conference tomorrow
and we will see. All those guns and men and combats boots and those picking
them up will be exposed tomorrow.
It is not only Kumasi that will be unsafe. So will your house and
hometowns, and families and hiding place will go overboard. I have reported
this to the police”.
The NDC led by its General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has since
through a press conference called on the police to investigate the said
death threats.
Mr Nketia, who disclosed the contents of the text message during the press
conference, said that if the matter was not dealt with by the security, it
would subsequently compromise the safety of Ghanaians during Friday’s
elections.
On Thursday 7:09 pm,according to *Dr Opuni* ,he received the first message
which read “Good evening, if John Mahama wants to become president through
our blood then he is a joker. He is the one behind this Ohene Agyekum-Opuni
stupidity on my life”.
Meanwhile in an interview with Joy FM’s Midday News yesterday, *Dr
Opuni*disclosed that efforts to reach the
*MP* after he received the first message proved futile as he refused to
pick his calls.
After the text message fracas, he said, he resolved to call some people in
Kumasi who knew him to advice him to apologize for the unsubstantiated
allegations but this proved futile.
According to *Dr Opuni* since the *MP* contends that he sent the said
*messages* because of a plot to assassinate him, he rhetorically asked why
the *MP* will fail to report the plot to the Police for onward
investigation as he has done than to go about threatening people.
He expressed concern about Dr Opoku-Prempeh’s behavior, adding that until
the current *incident*, the *MP* used to come to his office for many
reasons.
However, due to the severity of the text *messages* he received from his
good friend, Dr Prempeh, he has resolved not to continue with the
20-year-old cordial relationship he had with him.

Related posts:
You’re An Idiot – Akamba Fires Dr. Opuni

August 29, 2012

THE CHIEF Executive of Food and Drugs Board (FDB), Dr. Stephen Opuni,
yesterday suffered some humiliation at the hands of Deputy National
Organizer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC,) Joshua Akamba, who
hurled insults at him in the presence of other NDC gurus and the media.

Joshua Akamba, who was fuming with rage and panting for breadth, without
mincing words, described Dr. Opuni as an idiot among other unprintable
words.

Dr Opuni, who was reported to have a strained relationship with Joshua
Akamba, allegedly accused the NDC Deputy National Organizer of organising
thieves to invade his office to rob him some time ago.

Akamba, who was then seated on a wooden structure on the field at the Baba
Yara Stadium with other party members where the NDC is congregating
tomorrow for a conference to endorse President John Mahama as the party’s
candidate for the December polls, suddenly became infuriated by the foul
comment passed about him by Opuni, and responded in a harsh manner by
hurling insults at the FDB boss.

Other party members present rushed in to restrain the angry-looking Akamba
who was by then trying with all his might to reach the visibly-shaken Dr.
Opuni, who was racing away from the NDC official.

The shameful incident occurred yesterday afternoon at the Baba Yara Stadium
in Kumasi.

All members of the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC), headed by
the Regional Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyeman Mensah, security capos in the
region, NDC national and regional executives and a section of the media
were present when the incident occurred.

The confusion started when NDC bigwigs got divided over the venues for the
endorsement of President Mahama and the party’s mammoth rally which is to
follow the NDC congress.

Some party gurus including Joshua Akamba supported the idea that the two
events be held at the Baba Yara Stadium in order to save party members the
ordeal of walking under the scorching sun from the stadium to the Jubilee
Park for the party rally.

Party sources hinted that other NDC kingpins like Dr Opuni, who was
actively involved in the organization of the congress, insisted that the
endorsement of the president be held at the Baba Yara Stadium, whilst the
NDC rally comes off at the Jubilee Park.

As the NDC members and the REGSEC were discussing where the event should be
held, Dr Opuni reportedly insulted Joshua Akamba for having an opposing
view about where the venue for the event.

Dr. Opuni then allegedly accused the NDC Deputy Organizer over the alleged
robbery and Joshua Akamba, who initially did not respond, however got
agitated later on, as he started firing verbal assaults, most of which were
unprintable, including describing Opuni as an ‘idiot’.

Realizing that Joshua Akamba was furious, Opuni surprisingly kept mute and
managed to keep a distance from the outraged party man who was by then
being restrained by other party gurus.

When *DAILY GUIDE* left the Baba Yara Stadium around 4.00pm on Tuesday, NDC
bigwigs were seen standing in groups still discussing where the two
upcoming events should be held.

General Secretary of NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketiah had since announced that
the rally will be held at the Jubilee Park.

*FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumas*





Dr. Stephen Opuni, the controversial head of the foods and drugs authority
(FDA) appears to be a young man on the rise. From the relatively quiet
consulting rooms of the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi where he
practiced his profession as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Opuni was thrust
onto the country by the mills’ administration after the NDC won the 2008
general elections.



He was posted to the FDA then known as the Foods And Drugs Board (FDB) as
its first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) under mills. Somehow, before the
end of the first four years of that regime, the young surgeon managed to
complete the transition of the FDB into an autonomous authority now known
as the FDA.



Now unconfirmed reports have it that the young doctor could be on his way
to assume the top most job at GHANA’S COCOBOD as its chief executive
officer (CEO). Scandal has gathered that Dr. Opuni has received his letter
and his appointment, barring any last minute changes, will be announced any
moment from now.



Dr. Opuni’s appointment as chief executive officer of Cocobod if it is
confirmed comes on the heels of a protracted and yet to be settled ‘capital
war’ that he and his FDA started with yet another indigenous pharmaceutical
company-Tobinco company barely two weeks ago.



The last time we heard the FDA speak on the subject, they were taking the
minister of health- madam Sherry Ayittey on, for suggesting that she was
going to set up a committee to look into the FDA-Tobinco brouhaha. The FDA
reminded her that her ministry had imported some fake condoms worth over
six million dollars and that she should first investigate those imports
before she crosses over to examine the Tobinco matter.



Dr. Opuni’s five years stint with the FDA has been a heated one. He has
come against many companies, seized many goods and destroyed same all in
the name of public safety. The problem really is that Dr. Opuni and his FDA
are so powerful that if you fall into their net (or is it that they drag
people into their net), no one can deliver you.



The truth is that the FDA sometimes comes across as a police officer, a
prosecutor and a judge in their own court. They are the ones who inspect
your products and decide if they should be registered under our laws. They
are the ones who can determine whether your products are fake or genuine
and whether they are suitable for consumption. They are the ones that can
command the seizure and destruction of your goods and the law backs them in
all these.



In all these matters, there is no independent verifier or arbiter. It is
always the FDAs’ word against the companies involved. And so where there is
a clash of interests or egos the FDA and its leaders always stand supreme.
While Dr. Opuni has not been accused of impunity or arbitrariness in all
his standoffs with companies, there is no doubt that his style has
generated a lot of heat in the FDA since he took over.



The Cocobod is Ghana’s largest industry and a major source of revenue.
Cocobod deals with a large number of buying agencies and intermediaries
with varied backgrounds in the execution of its very important mandates. It
is the hope of all that all these are taken into consideration as Dr. Opuni
heads for the seat of CEO of Cocobod.



We are aware that Dr. Opuni has had to fight off a lot of competition to
arrive at this job. for nearly one year now the competition for the job has
been going on. The main backers (a king and a queen) of the contestants
have been at work. And now the queen has won and Opuni is the man. Go on
Dr. Stephen Opuni. Your time has come.

Comments:

Home » Local News » Shake-up at FDA…Two bosses to go!

Shake-up at FDA…Two bosses to go!



Posted by today on Nov 27th, 2013 // No Comment

Dr. Stephen Opuni, FDA Boss



Dr. Stephen Opuni, FDA Boss



Snippets of information chanced upon by Today from the corridors of power
indicate that President John Dramani Mahama is planning to change the
embattled Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Food and Drugs Authority
(FDA,) Dr. Stephen K. Opuni, and the Board Chairman, Mr. P.C Kworkwaei.



The reason for the move, the paper gathered, is the desire of the president
to see action in all government agencies in Ghana, and that has
necessitated the penning down of the two on the ‘hit list’ of the president.



Non-performance and persistent intimidation and attacks on pharmaceutical
companies in application of the Public Health Act 2012 (Act 851) section
116 are said to be some of the reasons for their intended dismissal.



Public Affairs Director of FDA, Mr. James Lartey, in a telephone interview
with Today denied his outfit’s knowledge of highly-schemed and matured
plans by President Dramani Mahama and his National Democratic Congress
(NDC) to change Dr. Stephen K. Opuni and the Board Chairman, Mr. Kworkwaei.



“My brother I must tell you on authority that we are not aware of that
plan, but if President Dramani Mahama thinks [he wants] to change Dr.
Opuni and Mr. Kworkwaei. It is the president who is the overlord of the
Republic of Ghana. I reserve my comment,” Mr. Lartey told Today.



But information available to this paper indicates that the controversial
Dr. Opuni would be re-assigned to replace the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD,) Mr. Anthony Fofie, while Mr. Fofie takes
over the position of Dr. Opuni at the FDA.



Dr. Opuni and Mr. Kworkwaei, our sources explained, apart from not being
able to deliver on a single of the several FDA projects promised by the
government, have also failed to prove to Ghanaians their claims of fake
drugs importation by Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Company Limited, which has
created a lot controversy in the country.



Our sources also confirmed that the inaction of the under-performing FDA
bosses has resulted in the bulk of the work at FDA being left for their
deputies.







Meanwhile, a member of the Communication Team of the Progressive People’s
Party (PPP,) Charles Owusu, has called on President Mahama to sack Dr.
Opuni and hand him over to the police for detention.



Speaking on Accra-based Adom FM’s “Dwaso Nsem” morning show a couple of
weeks ago Charles Owusu said Dr. Opuni has failed to prove to Ghanaians
his claims of fake drugs importation by the Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Company
Limited, stressing that “Dr. Opuni must be arrested immediately!”



He emphasised that if the alleged fake anti-malarial drug, Gsunate Plus
Suppository, was indeed manufactured by Bliss GVS Pharma Limited in India
and imported into Ghana on the blind side of the FDA, then the police must
arrest Dr. Opuni for failing to let his men stop the drug from getting onto
the market.



The PPP man said the FDA has representatives at the country’s various
entry points and ports, and they should have known better before allowing
the alleged fake drug to enter the country.



Former chairman of FDA, Professor Alex Dodoo, also pointed out that: “the
Authority [FDA] is not leaving up to expectation as long as there are
unregistered medicines on the Ghanaian market.”



Prof. Dodoo, who posted this statement on his face book wall, cautioned
the FDA not to intimidate pharmaceutical companies in the application of
the law.



President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSG,) Mr. Pharm James
Ohemeng Kyei, also accused the head of the Pharmaceutical, Industrial
Support Department of FDA, Mr. Samuel Asante Boateng, of conflict of
interest in the discharge of his duties.



Mr. Ohemeng Kyei, who made the accusation in a statement, indicated that
although Mr. Boateng was a staff of the FDA, he was engaged as a consultant
at Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Company Limited.



“I also have evidence that Mr. Boateng has for the past five years been on
the payroll of Tobinco Pharmaceuticals as a Consultant to support Tobinco
in all regulatory aspects of the business,” Mr. Ohemeng Kyei said.



The PSGH president also indicated that Mr. Boateng was on a consultancy
fee of GH¢2,000 a month with his consultancy appointment allegedly being
endorsed by, Dr. Stephen Opuni.



“This is a clear case of conflict of interest by the leadership of the
FDA,” the PSGH president stressed.



STORY: KORYEKPOR AWLESU FREEMAN