NAFDAC insists Guinness Nigeria pays N1 billion fine
• Agency places company’s items on hold
• Firm says it’s committed to quality
THE trouble with Guinness Nigeria Plc is still brewing. Compliance and payment of proposed fine for the legendary brewer remain a must as the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has taken a no-going –back position.
The agency yesterday, insisted that Guinness Nigeria Plc must pay the fine of N1 billion and comply with the sanctions and meet demands of the regulatory body.
Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, told The Guardian, yesterday, in a telephone chat: “I met with them before I travelled. We are waiting for them to come up with the payment. They have to review all the warehousing process. We are going to get very stringent with the industry going forward.
“You know that Nigerian foods are being rejected internationally and it is the same food that we eat here. We have made progress in sanitising the pharmaceutical and drug industry. We are equally going hard on food and drink industry. This sanction is just the beginning especially the big companies that think they are above the law. We have placed their products on hold. So it is left for them to comply.”
But Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Peter Ndegwa, in a statement made available to The Guardian, reaffirmed that the company is very positive that on account of its ongoing engagement with NAFDAC, the issues will be clarified and resolved in a short while.
Corporate Relations Director of Guinness, Sesan Sobowale, acknowledged the receipt of a letter from NAFDAC. He said the alleged infractions relate to a rented off-site warehouse where raw materials are stored; explaining that the said raw materials store is not a production facility and that the quality of its products was never in issue.
NAFDAC, last Thursday, hit Guinness with a fine of N1 billion for “its failure to adhere to the recommended good manufacturing practice procedures.”
This is coming on the heels of a similar incident where the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) issued a landmark fine of N1.04 trillion ($5.2 billion) against MTN Nigeria, the largest mobile network operator in the country, for failing to disconnect subscribers with unregistered and incomplete subscriber identification modules (SIM) cards within the stipulated time.
A source from the Enforcement Department of the agency, who pleaded anonymity, said that the agency conducted a routine check on the company’s factory in Ikeja, Lagos on November 5, 2015, and “shocking” revelations were made.
The NAFDAC team reportedly had unsatisfactory appraisals about how some of the materials used in the production processes were being handled. Also, the team that visited Guinness was worried about the manner in which the raw materials used in the factory were stored.
The source said: “The unhygienic storage condition of the raw materials was a major source of worry for the agency. Our team visited Guinness and the reported findings were true. The agency is, however, going to make a public statement to this effect at the appropriate time, as the management is still studying the reports submitted by the team.”