Details are beginning to unfold in the release of the rotten chicken dumped in the Ghanaian markets by the owners of White Stones Frozen Foods Limited, following The Herald’s last Friday exposé.
Additional information, has shown the complicity and betrayal of some state actors with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), at the Tema Port, entrusted with the health and safety of the citizens.
A document obtained from Customs, shows the heavy culpability of the head of the FDA at the Tema Port, Solomon Agampim, who flouted strict instruction to detain the rotten chicken from Holland Weddam Food Link BV, until it was properly certified.
Further checks have revealed the name of one of the containers according to a copy of the receipt as AEXU4501079 and the Type is RE with size being 40 footer.
The seal number per this paper’s copy of the receipt is 0137329, gross weight of 29300, max payload 0, while the number packages is, 2,000. The ISOcode was indicated as 45R1.
Officers from the FDA and CEPS, initially denied knowledge of the consignments, but finally the head of the FDA in Tema, Solomon Agampim, revealed some of the details which were published last Friday.
According to him, the containers were moved out of the Port to the premises of White Stones Frozen Foods Limited, owned by Eunice Jacqueline Buah, a financier of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Mr. Agampim, confirmed to this paper that, the chicken products, were cleared from the port with some unchecked ones, and sent all the way to Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region.
He mentioned the owners of the consignments as White Stones Frozen Foods Limited owned by Madam Buah, who is the Western Regional Representative on the Council of State and also a Board Member of the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GHPHA).
The FDA officer said, two containers were allowed to be cleared by CEPS on Friday, October 13, 2017. However, when it was inspected by the FDA, they found that, one had issue, so they alerted the CEPS official, which led to him withdrawing his earlier approval.
“…We know of two containers and in that one, if you look into the system, they were cleared by CEPS’ head and when we opened and realized that one was [rotten], we alerted him that this is the case, so he had to retract his clearance in the system.
Now, looking at the time, it was almost getting to 5-5:30pm so we said ok, if that is the case lets place a seal on it and then follow it to the premises of Whitestone or whatever and then do de-stuffing and when we finished, there was only 266 boxes, of the same Whitestone frozen foods products or whatever you call it. We did that on either Friday or Saturday that we did that”, he said while fumbling.
Mr. Agampim, continued that all the processes were adhered to, and so some 266 layers of the chicken that went bad, were removed for destruction, which were paid for by the company; White Stone Frozen Foods Limited.
“We locked the container, followed up to start all the stuffing, because it was the last badge. Because when they are loading, you have to put on the limit before it gets to the roof, but this one was almost packed to the roof, so the last four layers or is it three layers, were bad.
We had to take all that out and then look at the other one and even sampled some and the following morning, we went and sampled some and it was looking very beautiful.
Then the other ones that were bad 266 boxes, we told them to pay for supervision and they did pay, and was it yesterday or the day before yesterday, we followed it and they went and did safe disposal, I was there with the veterinary officer at the Port”, he said.
He claimed there are documents available covering the destruction exercise, he could show as proof of the activity on Friday.
In the possession of The Herald is the Internal Remarks issued by (RLSD TO FDA (DOE Dzedzorm Paul) 01×4, on October 14, 2017 titled “Internal Remarks created by KOANTW, which said “Ignore earlier remarks. Further inspection of consignment shows that some CTNS are showing signs of spoilage.
Consignment should be sealed and detailed at the importers premises pending laboratory analysis and clearance from the VSD please”.
The document which was issued with another name, Arhin Kwarkor, written beneath it with “Ascertain the veracity of the claim by AG” against it, somehow confirming the claim by the FDA that indeed the CEPS officer, had it wrong because part of the consignments were unwholesome.
What is not clear is whether indeed the claim that those 266 layers of chicken were destroyed, because there is no receipt of that, plus the amount paid by Mrs. Buah’s company for the destruction.
We are also yet to get receipt showing that indeed they paid duties for the products, because another allegation is that they were not paid.