Court frees 2 FDA officials

The Financial and Economic Crimes Division of the Accra High Court yesterday acquitted and discharged the Chief Executive Officer, Delese Mimi Darko and the Head of Communications, James Lartey of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in a contempt application.

The court, presided over by Her Ladyship Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Brobbey, further awarded costs in the sum of GH₵ 2,000 in favour of the FDA against the Cosmetics Association of Ghana (CAG), which brought the application.

The applicant had prayed the court to commit the FDA and its offices to contempt for its January 2019 publication on cosmetic products containing mercury, steroids and hydroquinone, which have been scientifically implicated to be debilitating and injurious to public health.

The court reasoned that the FDA acted properly by informing the general public of an injurious product.

The court believed that it is the duty of the FDA to make the public aware of injurious products such as rotten sardines.

Upholding the argument of the counsel for the respondent, Cynthia Dapaah Ntow, the court opined that contempt would not lie against a public body in performance of its statutory duty.

Justice Asare-Brobbey stated that the FDA cannot be held for contempt when the CAG’s application was premised on the pending injunction flowing out of a writ of summons and a statement of claim and a motion of involving the supervisory jurisdiction of the court.

The court agreed with the respondents that pending application for injunction against a body set up by statute should not act as a fetter to the performance of the FDA’s statutory duty.

The court further expressed utmost surprise that CAG had failed to move its injunction application over 15 months after it was filed.

The court held that the FDA must not be hindered from carrying out its statutory duty and that “its hands ought not to be tied by an injunction application”.


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