NAFDAC Seals Chocolate Royale Over Expired Products | Independent Newspapers Limited
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NAFDAC Seals Chocolate Royale Over Expired Products

Posted: May 22, 2015 at 8:14 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has sealed a confectionery and multinational food outlet, Chocolate Royale, for alleged unethical practices.

The NAFDAC’s Public Relations Officer  (Enforcement Operations), Anslem Okonkwor, said the action, followed a tip-off and intelligence report which indicted the company of illegal importation, storage and use of expired ingredients and food products for preparing of food and confectionery served to unsuspecting customers.

He said the company was operating and maintaining illegal cold rooms at the managing director’s residence where large quantities of various expired and spoilt food ingredients worth millions of Naira were uncovered.

The NAFDAC’s action, he explained, became necessary following avalanche of complaints about the company’s violation of the agency’s regulations.

To this end, the Agency has sealed both the Chocolate Royale facilities at Plot 267A Etim Inyang Cresent and the Managing Director’s residence on No 1, Karimu Kotun Street, all in Victoria Island, Lagos, he said.

The NAFDAC’s PRO also said some top officials of the company had been arrested for interrogation over willful obstruction of the agency’s operatives in course of their duties, adding that some others had gone into hiding to avoid arrest.

He said the offending products worth over N1 billion had been evacuated from the two premises in six vans.

Speaking after the operation which lasted for about nine hours, the NAFDAC’s Director, Investigation and Enforcement, Mr. Kingsley Ejiofor, said that the six persons were arrested in connection with the incident, adding that they were held for intentionally obstructing NAFDAC officials while on official duties.

“The suspect will be interrogated, while the products will be taken to the Laboratory for analysis; where the labels and contents will be properly analysed. And at the end of the day when the results will determine the next of action,” Ejiofor said.

The NAFDAC’s director who also doubles as the Chairman of Federal Taskforce on Fake and Counterfeit Drugs, Unwholesome Processed Foods and other Regulated Products, commended his officers and the entire team for the successful operation despite the antics and intimidations from the staff of the company.

He added that the food and confectionery outlet would remain closed to allow for proper investigation.

“They will be investigated by the Federal Taskforce and NAFDAC. At the end of the investigations, files submitted will be reviewed and after evaluation, we will send them to the legal division which will advise on what next to do and if we have enough facts, then will proceed on prosecution,” he said.

Meanwhile, NAFDAC’s Director-General, Dr. Paul Orhii, after inspecting the seized products evacuated to the Agency’s Enforcement Office at Apapa frowned at the development and assured Nigerians that the matter would be thoroughly investigated to ascertain the level of violations to aid prosecution.

He revealed that apart from the products being expired, they were not registered by NAFDAC and therefore should not have come into the country in the first place.

Consequently, he directed that in the course of the investigation, those handling the matter should request the company to furnish them with their clearing documents to ascertain if the products were legally cleared at the point of entry.

The NAFDAC boss further reiterated Ejiofor’s position that Chocolat Royale facilities at the headquarters would remain sealed and closed to the public until all the issues are fully investigated and resolved.

Orhii commended Nigerians for their support for NAFDAC and urged them to always volunteer information that would assist to unravel the activities of those he described as the ‘’merchants of death.’’

He revealed that there is a reward system in place for those who could furnish the Agency with useful information that would aid it to uncover more violations of NAFDAC’s regulations.

Chocolate Royale is a subsidiary of AIM Group belonging to billionaire Lebanase business mogul, Mr. Amin Moussalli, who are owners of broadcast stations – Cool FM, Nigerian Info FM, Wazobia FM, Cool TV, Wee TV and Wazobia TV among other business interests in Nigeria.