The Financial and Economic Crimes Division, of the Accra High Court, has acquitted and discharged the CEO and Head of Communications of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) of contempt charges in a case filed by the Cosmetics Association of Ghana (CAG).

Delese Mimi Darko and James Lartey were cited in a contempt application brought against the Authority by the Association. 

The Association 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. 

The FDA had said, these chemicals are scientifically implicated to be debilitating and injurious to public health.

But the Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Brobbey on Monday, 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 Authority to make the public aware of injurious products such as rotten sardines.

In upholding the argument of the counsel for the respondent, Cynthia Dapaah Ntow, the Court said that contempt would not lie against a public body in the performance of its statutory duty.

The pending application for an injunction against a body set up by statute, should not act as a restraint to the performance of the FDA’s statutory duty, the court said. 

The court expressed surprise that the Cosmetics Association of Ghana had failed to move its injunction application over 15 months after it was filed.

According to the court, the FDA must not be hindered from carrying out its statutory duty and its hands ought not to be tied by an injunction application.

The court awarded costs in the sum of ¢2,000 against the CAG and in favour of the Food and Drugs Authority.