Court convicts fake drug importer

A Circuit Court in Accra on Monday convicted Rita Fordjour, a 52 year old businessman who imported 481 cartons of fake Tres-Orix Forte into the country.

Rita who imported fake drugs without permit would pay a fine of GHȻ 8,000.00 or in default go to jail for 15 years.

Also on the charge of deception of consumers with counterfeit drugs, she would pay a fine of GHȻ 10,000.00 or in default go to jail for 15 years.

Sentences would however run concurrently.

The court also ordered the destruction of the 481 cartons of Trex-Orix Forte valued at GHȻ 102, 215. Forte, a vitamin boosting drug imported into the country from China was originally a product of KAMA Group of Industries.

Rita had earlier on pleaded not guilty to the various charges but at the end of the trial she was found guilty on the various charges. In all prosecution had called seven witnesses to make their case out.

Handing her sentence, the court presided over by Mr Francis Obiri expressed concerns over the attitude of some public officers stationed at the country’s boarders who allowed some of these drugs to find their way into the country.

He wondered how security officers who are paid by the taxpayer would allow these fake drugs into the country.

The Trial judge entreated the Food and Drugs Authority and security agencies to investigate how these fake drugs enter the country through our borders.

The court noted that it was Kama Industries who had been mandated to manufacture or import into the country Trex-Orix Forte.

Her counsel Mr. George Asamani earlier prayed the court to deal leniently with Rita as she was a first offender and a mother with children.

According to Mr Asamani, the court should also take into consideration “the season that we find ourselves in,” saying it was a season of goodwill.

He also noted that his client had already learnt her lesson from that transaction.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Abraham A. Annor had told the court that the accused person resides at Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

In recent times the FDA had been receiving various complaints from the public about the flooding of fake drugs on the Ghanaian markets.

Based on that, prosecution began monitoring and during the last quarter of last year, the FDA gathered intelligence, which suggested that a consignment of counterfeit Tres-Orix Forte were being imported from Chine to Ghana.

Prosecution said undercover agents commenced work and found out the accused person was among the syndicate who were engaged in smuggling of the counterfeit medicines and she had imported 481 cartons of Tres-Orix Forte for distribution.

On February 18, this year, operatives of FDA with the assistance of the National Security managed to arrest the accused person at Haatso, near Madina where she was to dispatch the drugs to the Ashanti and Northern regions and even beyond.

The operatives managed to retrieve 481 cartons with market value of GHc102, 215.50.

DSP Annor said in Rita’s investigation cautioned statement, she denied importing the drugs but indicated that it was a Nigerian by name Oke Chuku at Okaishie who gave them to her.

However, DSP Annor noted that import documents retrieved from her room in Koforidua indicated that she bought them from a company in China and not in Ghana.

Further investigation led to the retrieval of import document of vermox, zental albendazole, and panadol among others. GNA

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