A Bolgatanga Circuit Court has sentenced five unemployed Nigerians to a total fine of GH₵15,000.00 for possessing and offering for sale, unwholesome products as treatment for different types of diseases.
The accused persons, Okereke Anthony (22), Oti Jeremiah (19), Sunday Emmanuel Chinemerem (23), Eric Ogbonna (21) and Ogbonna Linus (24) would serve a combined prison sentence of 10 years should they fail to pay the fine.
They were found to be in possession and offering for sale some unwholesome products at Saka, a suburb of Zebilla in the Bawku West District in the Upper East Region, as treatment for stomach ulcer, gonorrhea, and teeth care.
They were arrested by the personnel of the Ghana Police Service, National Intelligence Bureau and the Ghana Immigration Service during an intelligence led operation in 2022.
Charged with conspiracy to commit crime and possessing and offering for sale unwholesome food/products contrary to section 286 of the Criminal Offences Act of 1960, Act 29, the court presided over by Mr Sumaila Mbache Ahmadu, found the accused persons guilty after examination on the samples of the products retrieved.
The court sentenced Okeene to 300 penalty units (equivalent to GH₵3,600.00 or three years imprisonment in default), Oti, Sunday, and Eric, 250 penalty units each (equivalent to GH₵3,000.00 or two years imprisonment in default each) and Ogbonna, 200 penalty units (GH₵2,400.00 or one year imprisonment in default).
Prosecution led by Chief Inspector Osman Ndego said all the accused persons were of Nigerian origin.
Prosecution said on June 9, 2022, at about 0420 hours, the Zebilla District Police Command in conjunction with the NIB personnel and the Ghana Immigration Service embarked on an intelligence led operation at Saka, a suburb of Zebilla and arrested the accused persons in a single room.
A search in the room revealed quantities of assorted small containers containing liquid substances with inscriptions on them as “LDC Teeth Solution Care,” Anti-Infection Solution and Teeth Problem Solution all” suspected to be unwholesome.
According to the prosecution, the Police also found and retrieved the original container of the LDC CONCENTRATE, which label indicate that LDC product is a detergent for cleaning homes, kitchens, and workshops with a clear warning that, contact with eye and foodstuffs should be avoided.
On interrogation, the Prosecution indicated, the accused persons stated that they were employees of Neolife Company which is a multi-national company with the head office in the United States of America.
It said the accused persons further stated that the company had an office in Accra where they received supply of the product and they in turn diluted it and repackaged same into smaller containers for retail as teeth care, stomach ulcer or gonorrhea.
Prosecution stated that the accused persons gave contact to the Police and Neolife Office was contacted and one Konatu responded and introduced himself as the manager of the Kumasi branch of the company.
He told the Police that LDC product is a detergent for cleaning homes and workshops and not meant for human consumption and told the Police that the accused persons were not staff of the company as alleged, Prosecution added.
Prosecution said during investigations, samples of the exhibits were forwarded to the Food and Drugs Authority in Accra for forensic examination.
It said on September 1, 2022, the examination result on the exhibits were received from the Food and Drugs Authority and it indicated that the substances retrieved from the accused persons were dangerous for human consumption.
Prosecution added that further investigations revealed that the accused persons entered the country through illegal means as there were no records of them entering the country at the Ghana Immigration Service.