The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has been forced to grudgingly sack its Head of Legal Affairs, Mrs. Cynthia Dapaah-Ntow who was caught extorting bribe from the CEO of the COA FS food supplement, Prof. Samuel Ato Duncan.
The exposé was done in November 2020 by investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni. And for approximately six months, the FDA claim it is “investigating” the allegation.
It however took the rejection of her admission into a US university for further studies to jerk the FDA into sacking Mrs. Dapaah-Ntow.
Mrs. Dapaah-Ntow had attempted to gain admission into the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at the Drexel University in Philadelphia, USA, but the school rejected her admission because of the bribery baggage hanging over her head.
“We found you to be a very qualified candidate, however, it came to the attention of the admissions committee that you were under investigation for allegations of bribery which is not in line with our values and code of conduct,” the university said in an email to the FDA lawyer, reports the investigative media outlet, The Fourth Estate.
Immediately after their lawyer was denied admission and it was widely publicised in the Ghanaian media, the FDA issued an internal memo announcing the dismissal of the corrupt lawyer.
An internal memo sent to the staff of the FDA Tuesday, April 27, 2021, by the Head of Human Resource, reads: “Management would like to inform Staff that effective 18th May 2021, Mrs. Cynthia Dapaah-Ntow, Head of Legal, will cease to be a staff of the FDA. The decision was arrived at after Mrs. Cynthia Dapaah-Ntow was taken through the internal disciplinary process of the Authority, following a charge of misconduct leveled against her.”
Mrs. Dapaah-Ntow has reportedly inferred while extracting the bribe from Professor Duncan that she was also acting on behalf of the FDA CEO, Delese Mimi Darko.
However, the FDA investigations allegedly exonerated the CEO of wrongdoing. “The Disciplinary Committee recommended to the Board that the appointment of Mrs. Cynthia Dapaah-Ntow be terminated. The Staff are also hereby informed that the Investigative Committee exonerated the CEO of all allegations of wrongdoing on her part,” the internal memo read.
In the undercover investigation done by Manasseh Azure with the express knowledge of the COA-Fs boss, Mrs. Cynthia Dapaah-Ntow had demanded a $200,000 bribe before COAF-Fs would be cleared of an alleged issue of contamination.
She allegedly demanded a bribe of $100,000 for the CEO of the FDA and another $100,000 for herself.
This bribery was triggered when the FDA, in April 2020, suspended the production license of COA FS, citing breaches in safety protocols.
The CEO of COA FS said he suspected foul play in the FDA’s approach and contacted the Head of Legal to complain and seek advice on how to handle the situation. According to him, it was at a meeting to discuss the issues that Mrs. Dapaah-Ntow demanded the money.