- Revalidated expired drinks
- To pay N1billion fine in 2 weeks
National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) yesterday gave reasons why it slammed a fine of N1billion on Guinness Nigeria plc with a deadline of two weeks to pay or face being shut down.
The fine which came few days after a multi-national telecommunications company MTN was fined N1.4 trillion by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has sent shocks waves down the spine of other organizations especially those with skeletons in their cupboard as to who would be the next victim of regulatory action.
In a statement released by the Head, Investigation and Enforcement of NAFDAC, Kingsley Ejiofor, the regulatory agency said the N1 billion was administrative charges for the destructive activities carried out by Guinness, alleging that Guinness exposed raw materials used in their factories to rodents. Guinness was equally found guilty of revalidating expired products (drinks) and selling same to the public for consumption.
“In view of the above, you are further required to take the following actions: disclosure of all your warehouses in the country and submission of inventory level of the stock thereof; submit a written voluntary consent of forfeiture for destruction of the expired and re-validated raw materials discovered in your warehouse; and submit a notarised undertaking to comply with all the guidelines, rules, regulations and enactments of the agency, and to refrain from any future violations.”, Ejiofor stated on behalf of the DG, NAFDAC Dr. Paul Orhi.
Guinness Nigeria was incorporated in 1962 with the building of a brewery in Ikeja in the Nigerian capital Lagos. A subsidiary of Diageo Plc of the United Kingdom, the company has been operating in Nigeria for over 60 years..
Findings revealed that NAFDAC recently conducted a routine check on Guinness factory in Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday, November 5, 2015 leaving with unsatisfactory appraisals about how some of the materials used in the production processes were being handled.
A letter NAFDAC to this effect was conveyed to the firm after a report sequel to the visit was tendered to the leadership of its enforcement directorate.
Further findings revealed that the team that visited Guinness was shocked at the poor conditions under which the raw materials used in the factory were being handled.
The N1 billion mandatory administrative charges may just be the basic action to be undertaken by NAFDAC, as it has been gathered that the agency is still processing for action, the report submitted by the team that visited Guinness.
Meanwhile, earlier reports indicate that NAFDAC, in the letter to the firm has requested that it disclose all its warehouses in the country. This is to be accompanied with inventory level of the stock thereof. They have also been mandated to submit a written voluntary consent of forfeiture for destruction of the expired and revalidated raw materials discovered in their warehouse; and submit a notarised undertaking to comply with all the guidelines, rules, regulations and enactments of the agency, and to refrain from any future violations.
In a reaction to the sanction, the company yesterday issued a statement, saying it that even though it does not fully understand the basis for the computation of the administrative charges nor the particular regulations alleged to have been infringed, it was still committed to production of quality products.
“All products from Guinness Nigeria conform to the highest standards of quality, having not only been produced in line with the globally accepted code of good manufacturing practice (GMP), but also been repeatedly so-certified by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON).” Peter Ndegwa, Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria PLC, said
According to Ndegwa, “the meticulous and painstaking work including rigorous quality assurance, that precedes the final production of all our products, has a singular objective: to ensure that our consumers drink products that are healthy and comparable with similar products
made by a Diageo facility anywhere else in the world.
”Referring to the Guinness Nigeria production facilities in Ogba, Benin City and Aba, Ndegwa stated that each of the breweries continues to work to exceed critical standards in areas such as quality and very importantly, human safety and environmental preservation. “On an incremental basis we continue to automate our processes,” said Ndegwa. “Indeed, with an investment in excess of N52billion in improving our manufacturing processes, our brewing plants would rank favourably among the most automated and modern brewing plants around the world.”
He said the company’s major aim is the continuous enhancement of the quality
of products Guinness Nigeria makes available to its consumers.
“As a responsible corporate organization, we take these allegations which relate primarily to raw
materials stored in one of our raw materials stores very seriously.”
“Guinness Nigeria has operated in Nigeria for over 65 years and has conducted its business in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations in Nigeria and Diageo’s global policies and procedures relating to good manufacturing practice.
“Guinness Nigeria is cognizant of its responsibility to adhere to relevant laws and regulations, which are applicable to its operations, including regulations issued by NAFDAC, and takes this obligation seriously.
“We remain committed to working with NAFDAC and other regulatory authorities in furtherance of our responsibility to produce and market quality products, which are enjoyed by consumers throughout Nigeria, and look forward to being able to resolve the issue working in partnership with NAFDAC.”, the MD stated.