Guinness Nigeria Plc has dragged the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, before a Lagos High Court in Igbosere over the N1b fine imposed on it by the agency.
The company prayed the court to henceforth stop NAFDAC from publicly discussing, analysing or providing any information to the media, whether print, electronic or in any other manner,” to suggest that the decision to sanction it was lawful.
Guinness, through its lawyer, Mr. Olasupo Shasore (SAN), claimed that NAFDAC did not afford it the opportunity of fair hearing as to the allegations that prompted the controversial fine.
NAFDAC had issued a letter dated November 9, 2015 on Guinness directing the company to pay N1bn “as administrative charges for various clandestine violations of NAFDAC rules, regulations and enactments over a long period of time.”
The agency claimed that Guinness had been revalidating its expired products without the authorisation and supervision of NAFDAC.
Among other things, NAFDAC also accused Guinness of failing to secure the gate of its warehouse and claimed that “the raw materials used in the production of beer and non-alcoholic beverages by the brewer were permanently opened to intrusion and exposure to the elements and rodents, which “invariably affect the integrity of the raw materials.”
However, Guiness had filed a fundamental right enforcement action, urging Justice W. Animahun to declare that its right to fair hearing under Section 36 (1) of the constitution was being violated by NAFDAC.
Sued alongside NAFDAC is the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The plaintiff urged the court to restrain the respondents, “whether by their agents, servants, officers and privies however from imposing any sanction on the applicant in any manner other than recognised by law and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.”