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Court Adjourns Guinness N1bn Suit Against NAFDAC

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Guiness

A Lagos High Court yesterday adjourned the suit filed by one of Nigeria’s brewing giants, Guinness Nigeria Plc against the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) till February 8, 2016 to enable parties meet for amicable resolution of the dispute.

Justice Wasiu Animahun adjourned the suit following submissions of counsel that a meeting is ongoing to resolve the matter out of court.

NAFDAC had imposed N1 billion fine on Guinness “as administrative charges for various clandestine violations of NAFDAC rules, regulations and enactments over a long period of time.”

The agency had in a letter addressed to the Managing Director of Guinness, Peter Ndegwa, by the Head, Investigation and Enforcement of NAFDAC, Kingsley Ejiofor, requested the payment of the N1billion as administrative charges for infractions such as the destruction activities carried out by the company without the authorisation and supervision of the agency.

The agency also accused Guinness of revalidating expired products without authorisation and supervision by NAFDAC, as well as failing to secure the gate of its warehouse as the raw materials used in the production of beer and non-alcoholic beverages by the firm were permanently opened to intrusion and exposure to the elements and rodents, which “invariably affect the integrity of the raw materials.”

Guinness was also alleged to maintain poor documentation record and not complying with conditions contained in the certificate of validation of the revalidated malt extract, which required the storage of the items in cool and dry place and elimination of exposure to sunlight.

Dissatisfied with the N1 billion fine, Guinness approached the court asking it to restrain NAFDAC and the Attorney-General of the Federation from enforcing the sanction pending the determination of the suit.

When the suit came up yesterday for mention, counsel to Guinness Plc, Mr. Olasupo Shasore (SAN), told the court that representatives of Guinness and that of NAFDAC are meeting on the sanction imposed on the company, adding that he was hopeful the matter could be resolved.

Addressing the court, NAFDAC’s lawyer, Mr. O M Abutu, acknowledged that parties met last Monday but that he was not privy to what actually transpired at the meeting.

He said: “I confirm that the applicant (Guinness) met with the agency yesterday, but I was not part of the meeting and I have not been briefed about the outcome of the meeting’’
Abutu urged the court to adjourn the matter to enable the Agency reply to the originating process filed by Guinness and for possible out of court settlement of the matter.

In his submission, counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. T Mokuolu, said he had no objection if parties decide to resolve the issue out of court.

Guinness Plc had in its originating motion prayed the court for an order restraining NAFDAC and AGF from imposing any sanction on it other than as recorgnised by law and the constitution.

The company also asked the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from imposing/or continuing to impose any sanction whatsoever on it.

The applicant is also asking for a declaration that NAFDAC refused to grant it an opportunity to be heard in relation to the allegation.

The company urged the court to declare the fine imposed by NAFDAC violated it right to fair hearing as guaranteed under section 36(1) of the Constitution.

Justice Animahun had in a ruling delivered on December 14 restrained NAFDAC from enforcing the N1 billion fine pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

The matter has been adjourned till February 8 for mention.

Thisday

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Business

Sterling Homes Plans To Reduce Housing Deficit

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Sterling Homes Limited has said it is committed to working with the government through private public partnership to reduce housing deficit in all the geo-political zones in the country.

The Managing Director, Mr Kunle Adeyemi, said this during an event on the company’s rebranding organised as part of its 10th year anniversary in Lagos on Friday.

During the event, the company while expressing commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction, unveiled its new logo with colours to define its mission and objections.

We want to be present in all the six geo-political zones on Nigeria by providing affordable luxury homes, excellent torch. So for us, there is a need for us to rebrand and have a new direction and vision.

“We want to partner with the government on the present housing deficit; we want to embrace a public, private partnership with the government to reduce the deficit in every geo-political zone.”

The managing director said that one of its unique selling points was its after sales services which was top notch.

He said it ensured that its customers were taken through the journey of actualising their dreams of becoming home owners.

While noting that everyone deserved to have a comfortable home despite the economic situation, he said it had designed a structure payment plan with zero interest in some cases to help intending home owners.

He said it also had provisions for high breed options and developing areas to accommodate various income levels.

Before the end of the year, he said, Sterling Homes would be establishing new presence and projects in other regions.

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Business

Mutual Benefits Drives Financial Inclusion

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Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc says it is committed to deepening financial inclusion and creating easy accessibility for insurance in the country.

A statement from the firm on Friday said it expressed this commitment when it inaugurated its South-West region franchise operations in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The Managing Director, Mr Femi Asenuga, said this was part of its efforts to develop the insurance business and create values.

He said, “The role we all have to play is to be ambassadors of Mutual Benefits.

“A franchise is a well-known word and the way Mutual Benefits practices franchise is in our normal style of creating and adding value; we never rest.”

Asenuga said that the firm was working with stakeholders to increase awareness and take its message to the grassroots.

In developed economies, he said, insurance firms owned banks. He regretted that this was not the situation in Nigeria.

He said the firm would provide stakeholders with the platform and support to make them excel as a member.

The Managing Director, Mutual Benefits Life Assurance Limited, Mr Ademola Ifagbayi, appreciated the stakeholders and urged them to take advantage of the franchise.

The Group Managing Director, Odua Group, Mr Adewale Raji, in his address, advised stakeholders to be committed and showcase good character and integrity.

He said, “The Odua investment is owned by the six South-West governments and it is in our interest when economic, businesses and investment spreads across the South-West states.

“This is an opportunity for us to strengthen insurance penetration within the South-West states.”

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CAC Sets Three-Hour Circle For Company Registration

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Corporate Affairs Commission

The Corporate Affairs Commission on Sunday stated that following the successful deployment of an end-to-end registration module, it was now prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just three hours before the end of year 2021.

Registrar-General of the commission, Garba Ababukar, gave the indication at a dinner in honour of the Chairman, Governing Board, CAC and Nigerian Ambassador Designate to the Kingdom of Spain, Ademola Seriki.

The commission disclosed this in series of tweets posted via its Twitter handle on Sunday.

“To achieve the target, the registrar-general said the commission was making arrangements to empower over 400 approving officers with working tools to process and approve registration applications either from home or anywhere necessary,” the agency stated.

Abubakar noted that the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic had adversely hampered CAC’s delivery timeline.

He, however, said the CAC was resolutely committed to serving its customers despite being forced to operate with less than 50 per cent of its workforce.

While bidding farewell to Seriki, the registrar-general said he received the news of his appointment with mix feelings as CAC was going to miss his tremendous support and guidance.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, described the outgoing CAC Chairman as a man of immense pedigree and endowed with enormous potential to justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.

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