EOCO takes over Olam Ghana case

OlamThe Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) has taken over the case in which Olam Ghana was caught attempting to repackage margarine which had gone beyond the inscribed expiry date.

It will be recalled that on October 20, 2015, ghanabusinessnews.com broke the story about the Ghana subsidiary of multinational food giant Olam, caught by officials of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority in Tema while the company was attempting to repackage margarine which ‘Expiry Date’ had passed in its warehouse within the Ghana Free Zone enclave.

The company had imported the product from Singapore. According to the information on the packages, the product was manufactured on September 24, 2014 and the expiry date was September 24, 2015.

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) then took over the case.

Deputy Chief Executive of the FDA, Food Inspectorate Division, Mrs Isabella Mansa Agra told ghanabusinessnews.com that the FDA had determined that the margarine was wholesome and fit for consumption when it examined the lab report produced by the destination inspection company SGS and validated it. But the FDA instead of extending the shelf life of the margarine as requested by Olam, proposed in June to supervise the distribution of the product, exclusively to end-user bakeries that would use the margarine immediately, to avoid any danger to the public through retail.

According to the FDA, it asked Olam Ghana to provide it with a list of bakeries that it would supervise the controlled distribution to.

The FDA said while it was waiting for the list and details of Olam Ghana’s intended customers, so the controlled distribution could be done, customs officials in Tema on September 29, drew the FDA’s attention to the repackaging of the margarine at the company’s warehouse in the Tema Free Zone enclave, it then moved in to stop the action and locked up the warehouse.

Olam Ghana eventually provided a list of bakeries, mostly of its customers to the FDA which then was going to do the controlled distribution on October 23, 2015, but while at the warehouse of Olam Ghana, the EOCO stepped in and halted the controlled distribution, the FDA told ghanabusinessnews.com when we sought to enquire about the state of affairs since the publication of the initial story.

According to officials of the FDA, the EOCO has asked for further tests of the margarine to be carried by the Authority itself to determine the wholesomeness of the product. The FDA has told ghanabusinessnews.com that the lab result is expected by Friday November 13.

A national security source has confirmed to ghanabusinessnews.com that indeed, EOCO has taken over the case for ‘national security’ reasons and that it is expecting the result from the FDA by Friday.

By Emmanuel K Dogbevi

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