Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Why The Ghana Standards Authority And Food And Drugs Authority Must Investigate Sunda International

Workers of a Chinese company in Ghana, Sunda International, recently protested against the high-handed behaviour of some of the company's Chinese managers - some of whom have apparently been physically assaulting workers: by kicking them. That is intolerable.

If those allegations are true, then there is a need to quickly disabuse the minds of Sunda International's Chinese managers that they can mistreat the Ghanaian workers whose labour enables them to operate their factory profitably, and continue to remain in Ghana - especially when it appears that they might be using chemicals that could be harmful and possibly carcinogenic.

Time and again, the current Chinese ambassador to Ghana, H. E. Sun Baohong, has admonished Chinese citizens here to be law-abiding.

And, indeed, there are many good and law-abiding Chinese citizens who have been  resident in Ghana for decades without any blemish on their records. A leading figure in the Chinese business community here, is Mr. Stephen Chun - who has lived in Ghana for many years and regards it as his adopted home country.

One couldn't meet a finer human being. The idea of robbing Ghanaian workers of their dignity in their own country, would be totally alien to him.

In sharp contrast to Stephen Chun's exemplary stewardship of his companies, and fairness to his employees, Sunda International's managers resorting to kicking the company's workers and verbally abusing them, is unpardonable. It shows utter contempt for Ghanaians and their nation.

Such insolent and uncouth foreigners are not welcome in Ghana. No one should be allowed to abuse the human rights of Ghanaians in the name of foreign investment. Investors like that we can definitely do without.

After investigations are carried out, those Sunda International managers, who are found to have actually  abused the company's workers, must be swiftly prosecuted and jailed if found guilty of assaulting their workers, and swiftly deported after serving their sentences - to teach other foreigners minded to show such gross disrespect to Ghanaians and their nation a useful lesson.

The company's workers and the general public must be assured by the Interior Minister, the Hon. Mark Woyongo, that the Ghana Immigration Service and the Ghana Police Service will move quickly to  investigate the very serious  allegations made by the workers against the company's Chinese managers.

Above all, since the workers complain of developing skin rashes as a result of handling chemicals used in manufacturing the company's products, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA),  should carry out immediate tests on all the raw materials used by Sunda International to produce washing powder for sale to the general public - and ensure that its products are safe for sale to consumers.

If it turns out that they were purchasing chemicals from Tianjin's Rui Hai International Logistics Company, that should alert regulators to be extra vigilant in dealing with Sunda International.

Rui Hai International's legendary corruption, corner-cutting and influence-peddling to get around safety regulations, led to the massive explosion and the resultant toxic cocktail mix, which the authorities are currently grappling with, in the environmental clean-up now going on in the port city of Tianjin.

Sunda International's factory should be closed down if it is found to be using dangerous and banned chemicals to manufacture its products - for public health reasons. That warrants the authorities acting quickly to carry out tests on all Sunda International's raw materials and products.

Futhermore, the fact that the brand name Kleesoft, is similar to Kleensoft, should be  a red flag for officialdom. They ought to collaborate with their counterparts in China to find out if Sunda International's promoters have any links to Triad gangs either in  the Chinese mainland or Hong Kong.

What manufacturing company underpinned by corporate good governance principles will use a brand name similar to that of an established brand in the same market, I ask?

It would be scandalous and unpardonable if the FDA and GSA failed to act in this matter, and thousands in Ghana, exposed to Sunda International's products, had their health ruined because they purchased a Made-in-Ghana product, which regulators failed to ensure met international standards - which after all are what Ghana's standards are supposed to be. No? Well, one rests one's case, for now, anyhow.

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