A huge consignment of rice, which has been emitting excessive offensive odour due to contamination and declared as unsafe for human consumption by health authorities in Guinea and Sierra Leone, was Wednesday accepted as wholesome for the people of Ghana by the Ghana Standards Board.
Ghanaians have wholeheartedly, through the Ghana Standards Board, accepted to be served with over 11,487 metric tonnes of contaminated rice, which has been rejected by some West African countries due to termite, weevil and worm infestations.
Owners of the huge consignment of infested rice loaded in MV Stefan is, after several attempts to dump the contaminated rice on other African countries without success, have re-entered Ghana and have been successfully accepted by Ghana's Port authorities to offload their contaminated rice.
The New Crusading Guide can confirm that there is currently an inner fighting among top officials of the Ghana Standards Board over the appropriateness of certifying the bags of rice for human consumption.
"Some games clearly have been played within our organization. Money has certainly exchanged hands among some top guns in this place", said a source within the Ghana Standards Board.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Ports Health has distanced itself from the declaration of the rice as wholesome, saying that "after the first physical examination which indicated that the rice contained termites and other substances, [we] fumigated and quarantined it", said Mr. Saka, the Port Health boss in an interview, adding that it is not our outfit's job to declare the rice as safe or unsafe".
The consignment of rice, which came from Burma, had been declared as "Unfit for Human Consumption" by the Sierra Leonean authorities before it arrived in Ghana because "it emitted offensive dour".
Documents obtained by the New Crusading Guide from the Environmental Health Division, Ministry of Health and sanitation, Cline Town, Freetown states that "After thorough inspection of the consignment of rice, we found out that, the rice mentioned above (UNPL EMATA YANMAR RICE) were emitting offensive odour and has deteriorated in quality, which has rendered them unfit for human consumption".
The document, under the official stamp of Meat & Food inspection Division of Freetown recommended that "This office therefore recommends that the UNPL EMATA MYANMAR RICE found emitting Offensive Odour should be surrounded to the Health Department for safe and sanitary Destruction".
This directive was however not followed in Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, the Port Health Boss, Mr. Saka, indicated in an earlier interview that "I have physically examined it. They were infested and I have already told the owners that judging from what we saw from the sample, they are not likely to pass the test".
Surprisingly, the Foods and Drugs Board of Ghana has maintained a loud silence over the unfolding drama.
Information reaching The New Crusading Guide indicates that owners of the consignment, who were desperate to dump the contaminated rice in any country, have been in cahoots with some top officials who have finally agreed to, on behalf of Ghanaians, take the rotten rice.
"The Christmas holiday is like a free period for them; because not many people would be watching them so they have agreed to the deal. Only Ghanaian consumers are going to suffer in the end", an inside source at the Port said.
The New Crusading Guide in its Thursday, December 10, 2009 edition, carried on its front page, a story under the heading "RED ALERT: Contaminated Rice On Ghana's Waters" in which it was reported that, reporters of The New Crusading GUIDE on board a chartered boat, had sighted MV Stephanis at the anchorage in Tema.
This paper can confirm that MV Stephanis berthed in Ghana on December 7, 2009, after being rejected in Conakry, Guinea and Freetown, Sierra Leone. It was carrying a quantity of 11,487 metric tons of Burmese rice, 25% Broken, hoping that it could be pushed unto the Ghanaian consumer by any means necessary. The Shipper of the consignment was Universal Navigation PTE Limited.
Source: The New Crusading Guide/Ghana
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