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Cocaine Fiasco: Kinapharma Demands Apology   
 
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14-Dec-2009  
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The management of Kinarpharma, a pharmaceutical company, has demanded a formal apology from the police “for damaging the company and its management’s hard earned reputation.”

It said it would also petition the President on the harm that had been done the company by the police so that he could use his high office to ensure justice and fairness in the matter.

Reacting to media reports that the police had arrested three top officials of the company on suspicion of a cocaine matter, the General Manager of the company, Mr. Eshun Fameyeh, told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that it was unfortunate that the police leaked the story on the suspected drug bust at the company’s factory when the police themselves said there was only a 20 per cent chance that the substance they had seen could be cocaine.

“Even though it is not in dispute that the police are empowered to arrest on suspicion and no one is asking for preferential treatment, we believe the police should exercise caution, especially when dealing with persons and organisations with solid and positive track records,” he said.

He wondered why the police did not wait till the tests that were being conducted on the substance were concluded before going public on the matter. Mr Fameyeh added that the confirmation by the police last Friday that the suspected cocaine was a pharmaceutical raw material, as explained by the company on Thursday, “does not even help the police themselves.”

He said it was not good for the reputation of a company which, together with its subsidiaries, directly employed about 800 young men, including more than 100 graduates, to be destroyed in such a manner.“This company is a leading supplier of quality, reliable and affordable drugs to most public and private health institutions in Ghana. Burkina Faso, Senegal, Benin, Niger, Mali, Togo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, among other countries, and is a large corporate taxpayer,” he noted.

He questioned why just one positive result out of 27 samples taken in a simple preliminary field test conducted could be used to detain renowned pharmaceutical manufacturers until a confirmatory test had been done.Mr Fameyeh said Kinapharma, which is an indigenous Ghanaian company with an international reputation, had been conducting trials for the World Health Organisation (WHO) for countries such as Papua New Guinea and Madagascar.

He added that its Managing Director, Mr Kofi Nsiah-Poku, was a leading consultant production pharmacist for several countries and organisations, including the WHO, former Marketing Man of the Year, former lecturer in Pharmacy at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and leading member of both the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana and the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), adding that his passport could have been seized for him to be asked to go home and report himself to the police till test results were ready.

“This is, indeed, not a private businessman alone but also a national asset and inspirational and respected Ghanaian. We need to be careful,” he said, adding, “Is genuine success not worth a little respect?” Recounting the events that led to the detention of Kinapharma officials, Mr Fameyeh said about 11am on Wednesday, December 9, the police visited the Spintex Road facility of the company and requested to be shown around.

He said after an extensive tour, they demanded to be granted access to the company’s restricted products strong room. Mr Fameyeh explained that he told the police that for security reasons, three different officers had to be assembled before all doors to the room could be opened because it housed only drugs imported under special Food and Drugs Board (FDI) permits. He said after discussions with the police, the Kinapharma management wrote to the FDB to inform it about the demand by the police for access to the warehouse and requested the presence of officials of the FDB and the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).

He clarified the story carried in the Daily Graphic that the three top officials of Kinapharma had been arrested, explaining that they actually had to beg the police to allow them to accompany the officials when it was finally decided that all the stock in the warehouse should be taken to the Police Headquarters for the tests to be conducted. “Nobody has a problem with the police investigating a tip-off, ordering a search or taking samples or even confiscating chemicals for further analysis.

The problem is with the methods used, the actions taken and the statements made, the leaks to the media when there was a greater likelihood that there was nothing more than what was there, especially when they were on the premises of a company with permits to import restricted raw materials,” he said.

Mr Fameyeh said the company’s image had been seriously dented and requested that “the truth about our exoneration be given as much prominence as the negative stories about our alleged drug bust.”
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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