The Graphic Communications Group has become a partner-in-crime with an alleged quack Ghanaian pharmacist who is a fugitive from the law after defrauding the US health system to the tune of US$7.8 million.
According to a recent report by the national broadsheet itself, Graphic’s Management, has virtually ceded the national publisher’s popular clinic, the Graphic Clinic, to a Dr. Kojo Sackey who is President of his own pharmaceutical company registered in Ghana as MedGraph Compound Pharmacy and Laboratory in an 80% – 20% shareholding structure.
The partnership has been confirmed to Whatsup News by Graphic’s MD, Mr. Ato Afful.
However, investigations by Whatsup News reveals that the supposed Dr. Kojo Sackey is actually George Sackey, an alleged quack pharmacist who is on the run from the law in the US after bilking the US government of some US$7.8million, using fake concoctions.
The mean streak leading to Sackey’s alleged fraud included the forgery of patients’ signatures, according to reports.
Graphic’s high-ups have been running from requests to explain how the national publisher became a partner of an alleged fraudster and fugitive from the law.
When the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Ato Aful was contacted by WhatsUp News, he confirmed the partnership with Sackey’s company, explaining that because medical care is not Graphic’s core business, they thought it wise to bring on board a partner to help make the Graphic Clinic lucrative.
The partnership, he explained, opens up the clinic to the general public rather than limiting its services to Graphic staff and that way the clinic can bring in income.
“All the infrastructure is ours, it has always been in the portfolio of the Graphic Communications Group. What the business was looking for was a partner who would come along and offer other services to enrich the clinic portfolio. So the clinic is a hundred percent owned by the Graphic Communications Group. Our ambition was to enable it so it could be opened up to the public. That is our critical interest. The other ancillary services around it are not ours, we have our own in-house pharmacy in the clinic so that the supply of medication to the staff will come from our own place the partner came along to expand the services to the public,” Ato Afful told Whatsup News via telephone.
Mr. Afful also said due diligence had been carried out by Graphic’s service committee and the procurement team to choose Sackey and his company as the perfect investor out of a list of other bidders.
However, when he was asked to explain how the Graphic’s due diligence missed the fact that the company they just signed a partnership deal with was a fugitive in the US, Afful deferred the question to contact the Human Resource Manager of Graphic.
When Peggy Addo, the HR Director was contacted, she also resorted to fencing by deflecting the question once more to the MD Afful who had earlier bounced Whatsup News to the HR.
“…The MD asked you to contact me?” Ms. Addo wondered, adding: “Then it is the MD who can give you any information you want, not me. So, you can speak to the MD, he can confirm whatever you needed from him. I am not the person to speak to. I don’t speak to these things on behalf of the company….”
The entire process of the partnership between Graphic and the fugitive is fraught in suspicion leading critics and insiders to conclude that a gang up the hierarchy of the state publishing firms may be silent beneficiaries of the contract.
Meanwhile, in the US, Sackey, reportedly carried out his alleged prescription pain medication scams at his two pharmacies, Havana Pharmacy and Medical Supply Inc., 1555 S. Havana St. in Aurora, and Alameda Pharmacy and Medical Supply, 2370 W. Alameda Ave. in Denver, between 2012 and 2017.
In a 2019 publication by the Denver Post, Sackey is described as a fugitive Colorado pharmacist who twice skipped bail and is accused of fraudulently billing Medicaid and Medicare out of $7.8 million by giving customers generic pain creams and billing the government for brand-name medication that he never delivered.
He had been charged in Arapahoe County District Court with one count of theft of more than $1 million and one count of computer theft of more than $1 million.
However, he reportedly escaped, doing so by among other things vandalizing an ankle monitor.
On September 7, 2021, however, Graphiconline reported that The Graphic Clinic and MedGraph Compound Pharmacy and Laboratory, have opened their services to the general public with a promise to provide quality healthcare delivery with a high hospitality service for clients.
According to the Graphic story, the new partnership will see the Graphic Clinic located on the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, run a regular clinic, but now with a well-stocked pharmacy and a well-equipped laboratory, and also provide a digital X-ray, ultrasound, electrocardiogram (ECG) and eye treatment.
And then Sackey, who is addressed as “Dr. Kojo Sackey” is quoted speaking in sophisticated medical terminology, to explain state-of-the-art pharmaceutical and medical care that his company is bringing to the public through the partnership with Graphic Clinic.
The President of MedGraph Compound Pharmacy and Laboratory is reported as saying the facility had been set up “to provide the missing link to quality healthcare delivery in the country.”
He said the compound pharmacy, which was relatively new in Ghana, would offer services such as pain management, dermatology, and paediatrics and hormone replacement therapy; services strikingly similar to what he reportedly used to defraud the US health system.
Dr. Sackey explained that compounding was often required for medical reasons, noting that some patients required a particular non-essential ingredient to be removed from their medication to prevent an allergic reaction.
In 2019, he was charged in Arapahoe County District Court with one count of theft and one count of computer theft of more than $1 million.
It had come to light later after the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver filed a forfeiture lawsuit against Sackey’s Highlands Ranch home and several bank accounts totalling more than $1.2 million in value.
According to the Denver Post, Authorities first caught Sackey on Feb. 15, 2017, at the Denver International Airport Jet Bridge while he was preparing to board a plane headed for London. He soon paid a bond, was released from jail, and then cut off his ankle monitor on May 12, 2017, and fled according to federal court records.
A former Havana Pharmacy employee is said to have reported Sackey to the Colorado Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in December 2016, alleging that he gave patients generic medication while billing Medicaid and Medicare for more expensive brands including Abilify and Nexium.
According to federal documents, Sackey would also continue providing drugs to patients after their prescriptions ended. The whistleblower also reported that Sackey forged patient signatures to bill the US Medicaid and Medicare policies.
His pharmacy companies billed the agencies $6.1 million for Ketoprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug used for treating arthritis pain, between 2012 and 2017. The second-highest pharmacy in Colorado to dispense that drug was Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy, which dispersed $7,295 worth of Ketoprofen to clients, the report said.
Sackey claimed to use Ketoprofen capsules, the only way Medicare and Medicaid would pay for the drug, but he used bulk powder kept in large tubs to make his own pain cream, the document says. Sackey’s pharmacies didn’t even have the capsules in stock, the document says.