A Ghanaian-born man resident in the UK, Kofi Acheampong, claimed his COVID-19 result was changed for a fee at Noguchi
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has presented evidence to debunk allegations of a “falsified” COVID-19 result that went viral on social media.
The claims suggested that an official of the institute collected a bribe of GHC500 to falsely document a COVID-19 test result to facilitate the travel of one Kofi Acheampong from Ghana to the United Kingdom on a British Airways flight on the night of Tuesday 12 January 2021.
However, an investigation carried out by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) in partnership with the management at Noguchi has proved otherwise, as Asaase Radio reported this afternoon on the Lunchtime News.
The director of Noguchi, Professor Abraham Annan, confirmed that calls traced by NIB show no record of communication between Kofi Acheampong and the Institute.
Acheampong claimed that a member of staff at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research had offered him the opportunity to change positive COVID-19 test results to negative in order to allow him to travel to the UK in January this year.
Acheampong is a Ghanaian-born resident of the UK who holds Irish nationality.
The investigation established that the claims are completely unfounded.
Acheampong said he and a friend, Solomon Amoako, visited NMIMR so that Acheampong could have a COVID test on 10 January 2021, prior to his return to the UK. He gave an MTN number as his point of contact. The results were due on Tuesday 12 January, the day Acheampong was expected to return to the UK.
He and Amoako went back on the afternoon of 12 January to collect the test results from NMIMR, where Solomon Amoako signed on behalf of his friend to collect the test paperwork. The results were positive. However, NMIMR has no record of any negative COVID-19 test result for Acheampong on file.
The investigating agency found no phone records of anyone at NMIMR having called Acheampong. Nor are there any phone records showing that Acheampong called anyone at the research institute.
The investigators also carried out an electronic search and there is no trace of Acheampong, or Amoako, having returned from Medie, the suburb of Accra where Acheampong was staying, to Noguchi. The investigation merely shows him leaving Medie to check in at Kotoka International Airport and leaving the country from there.
Flight records also show no evidence of Acheampong having travelled on BA Flight 075 on 12 January using any false documentation. Indeed, at that time, British Airways did not require a COVID test report as a condition for boarding flights to the UK.
Acheampong claimed that he produced a negative result from a test conducted in the UK on 13 January, the day after his return. Scientists explain that the test result from Noguchi showed that he had a low viral load for the disease; he could therefore easily have produced a negative test result within the narrow time frame.
Attempts to contact Acheampong since his return to the UK have proved futile. He claimed to have put the matter in the hands of lawyers. Calls to the lawyers he said he had charged with the matter have not been answered.
Amoako has publicly denounced his friend Acheampong and said the allegations about the conduct of NMIMR staff were fabricated.
Officials say Acheampong is guilty of violating the Electronic Communications Act 2008 and will be prosecuted under the terms of the law if he comes back to Ghana.
Listen to the director of Noguchi, Professor Abraham Annan, speaking about the claims:Audio Player00:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.
Below is Noguchi’s press statement on the case: