Guinness Nigeria, NAFDAC fail to reach agreement at resumption of case

Guinness Nigeria Plc and the National Agency for Food & Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) have failed to reach an out-of-court settlement agreement at the resumption of the case brought against the brewer by the agency. NAFDAC had fined Guinness N1bn in November for various administrative violations against the agency’s rules.

At the resumption of the hearing on Monday at a Lagos High Court, counsel for Guinness, Mr. B. Salihu, told the court that the parties were still holding talks to see if the matter could be settled out of court.

The counsel for NAFDAC, Mr. O.M Abutu also confirmed that the parties were still holding discussions.

Consequently, Justice Wasiu Animahun adjourned the case to March 16, 2016, for mention.

The food agency had imposed a N1bn fine on Guinness in November 2015 for what the regulator described “as administrative charges for various clandestine violations of NAFDAC rules, regulations and enactments over a long period of time.”

The agency also accused Guinness of revalidating expired products without authorization 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 open to intrusion and exposure to the elements and rodents, which “invariably affect the integrity of the raw materials.”

Not satisfied with the fine, Guinness sued the agency, asking the court to restrain NAFDAC and the Attorney General of the Federation from enforcing the sanction pending the determination of the suit.

At the resumption of court hearing on December 22, 2015, the parties told the court that they were making efforts to settle the matter out of court. The counsel for Guinness, Mr. Olasupo Shasore (SAN), said that representatives of Guinness and NAFDAC were meeting with the hope of resolving the dispute.

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