Kampala, Uganda | URN | An investigation by the National Drug Authority (NDA) has found Tickoff, an acaricide produced by Pastor Robert Kayanja of Miracle Center Cathedral and two colleagues to be adulterated with chemicals that have since been banned.
According to Abiaz Rwamwiri, NDA’s Public Relations Officer, the fake veterinary drugs which has been distributed in districts of Kiruhura, Lyantonde, Sembabule, Gomba, Isingiro, and parts of Karamoja is laced with harmful chemicals like Diazinon, Fipronil and Benalaxyl, highly concentrated fumigant used to kill bedbugs, bats, and termites.
“NDA condemns in the strongest terms possible the actions of Pastor Kayanja for using his advantaged position to lure desperate farmers when Uganda is faced with a challenge of tick-resistance. His action was not only criminal but also intended to cheat Ugandans,” Mr Rwamwiri said.
It was also found to be contaminated with Fipronil, a spray that was banned for food-producing animals because of the long withdrawal period due to the potential risks it could have on human health in addition to Benalaxyl, a fungicide which was found to have cancer-causing components.
According to a statement issued by NDA on Tuesday 7, February 2023, the chemicals were being mixed with animal feeds and silverfish and packaged without an expiry date, ingredient information, or warning.
Rwamwiri says that NDA received a tip-off about the product after the pastor started advertising the anti-tick drug during services at his church claiming that the product kills ticks instantly.
But after being engaged by the authority about the drug’s efficacy, Rwamwiri says the team revealed that they had worked with scientists at Makerere University School of Veterinary Medicine to conduct trials on the medicine but these denied having ever worked with the pastor and his colleagues.
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“You have cows? Stand up. You are struggling with ticks? You do? God is great. In this church, we have people who have come up with a solution. You will see no ticks on your farm… We are currently testing it on our farm. It is organic, it is incredible,” Pastor Kayanja said during the Christmas festivities.
“Tomorrow come early…we will give you something to take so that you can apply for free. We want you to keep the data, you will not struggle again. God is great,” he added.
The police have since impounded over 100 samples from his church stores and taken them to both NDA and Government Chemist Laboratories.
Pastor Kayanja could not be reached for comment because his known telephones were off.