The University of Ghana, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has described the allegation of falsification of Covid-19 test results and exploitation of clients for monetary gain by the institution as untrue.
According to the NMIMR, its investigations into the controversial audio recording of one Kofi Acheampong which surfaced on social media a few weeks ago about a false Covid-19 negative test proved that no such result was issued by the institution as claimed.
NMIMR Director, Professor Abraham Anang addressing a press conference on the findings of the investigations conducted by the institution and the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) said indeed on 10th January at 11:40 am, an individual by name Kofi Acheampong sampled for Covid-19 test at the institution’s walk-in testing station.
He said Mr Acheampong paid the official fees (GH¢350.00) for the test and his sample was assigned a lab ID NUR-21-2102 after which the sample was taken through the Covid-19 testing processes and it showed positive.
“A report dated 12th January was prepared by NMIMR data processing unit, which was verified and signed by the supervisor on duty, Dr. Helena Lamptey.
Mr. Kofi Acheampong’s positive result was collected and signed for at around 13:33 hours on 12th January 2021,” he said
Prof. Anang said the positive Covid-19 test result circulated on social media was valid however, there was no evidence in the NMIMR data and reporting system for the generation of another report (negative) for Mr. KKofi Acheampong.
“Apart from this positive Covid-19 PCR test result, NMIMR does not have records of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result for Kofi Acheampong ” he emphasized.
On 15th January, there was a viral audio message on social media from an individual alleging that he was requested by British Airways (BA) to obtain a Covid 9 test result for his travel to the UK.
He, therefore, visited the NMIMR on 10th January, 2021 to take a Covid-19 test, which turned out positive when he returned to collect the result n 12th January.
He alleged that about an hour after taking the test result, he received a phone call from someone at NMIMR who informed him that the positive result could be changed to negative for a fee of GH¢ 500 to enable him to travel to the UK.
The individual further alleged that he went back to NMIMR, where he was issued a negative Covid-19 test result after paying the agreed fee.
He said that after arriving in the UK, he took another Covid-19 test on 13th January, three days after the test at NMIMR, which turned out negative.
He accused the NMIMR and its staff of falsification of test results and exploitation of clients for monetary gain.
Prof. Anang in response to the allegation èrsaid, “without giving credence to the supposedly UK NHS negative Covid-19 result that was also circulated on social media, we would like to state that, scientifically, it is possible for a person to test positive for Covid-19 and convert to negative status within a few days.”
He said the technical data from Mr. Kofi Acheampong’s Covid-19 test gave a cycle threshold (Ct) value of 36.12, which suggested that his viral load was low, or he was on the path to recovery.
He said the NIB also found at that contrary to claims by Kofi Acheampong , he neither received a phone call from anyone at NMIMR promising to change the test results at a fee nor did he return to NMIMR after he left the place on 12th January, 2021.
“Investigation also unearthed that, Kofi Acheamping did not use a falsified ovid-19 test result to travel to the UK on British Airways, flight 075. Checks with British Airways indicated that the company did not request for a Covid-19 test report as a condition for Kofi Acheampong to board their flight. At the time Kofi Acheampong left for UK on 12th January, 2021, a Covid-19 test report was not a prerequisite for travel on British Airways flights,” he added.
Prof. Anang further noted that the claim by Kofi Acheampong that he conducted a Covid-19 test on 13th January, 2021 in the UK could not be immediately verified.
“Several phone discussions with Kofi Acheampong, who is in the UK, to get him to assist with the investigation proved futile as on each occasion, he indicated he would prefer his lawyer to speak on the issue. He however failed to honour his many promises to provide the phone contact of the said lawyer.
Meanwhile, Solomon Amoako, who came from Kumasi to Accra with Kofi Acheampong and was with him throughout his stay in Accra prior to his departure to the UK, has declared as untrue the allegation made by Kofi Acheampong that he acquired a falsified negative Covid-19 test result to enable him to travel to the UK,” he added.
Prof Anang said the University of Ghana would take the necessary steps to protect its reputation.
“The University of Ghana Noguch Memorial Institute for Medical Research wishes to assure the general public that it will continue to provide accurate and reliable Covid-19 test results,” he said.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri