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Guinness to pay N1billion fine for revalidating expired raw materials

Guinness to pay N1billion fine for revalidating expired raw materials

The fear of President Muhammadu Buhari seems to be the beginning of wisdom for some regulatory agencies, the same National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) which has not fined or charged Chocolate Royale for using expired raw materials( some were over 15 years old) has suddenly woken up from its slumber to slam a N1billion  fine on Guinness Nigeria PLC.

According to NAFDAC it has imposed a fine of N1 billion on Guinness for revalidating expired raw materials without approval, maintaining poor documentation and not complying with some of its regulations.

A letter written by the regulatory agency noted that the local unit of the company which had been operating in Nigeria since 1962 was given a two-week ultimatum to pay the fine.

But Guinness has denied flouting the rules of the regulatory agency, saying it was in talks with NAFDAC over the sanction.

The company stated: “As a responsible corporate organisation, we take these allegations which relate primarily to raw materials stored in one of our raw materials stores very seriously.

In a statement it issued yesterday, Managing dDrector of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Peter Ndegwa,  said, “We are engaging NAFDAC for clarifications and resolution of the issues. The high quality of products from Guinness Nigeria’s breweries has been attested to repeatedly, not only by NAFDAC but also by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), as well as the internal quality controls of the Diageo Group.

“Basic raw materials are first converted during the brewing stage, with lots of critical control points, before products are bottled and released to the market. Each of these painstaking steps is rigorously monitored for conformity with all necessary global standards which we regard as basic, as we always aspire to exceed the much higher standards that have been set internally by the Diageo Group”.

Guinness wondered why NAFDAC took such punitive measure against it, saying its management was in the dark as to why neither the administrative charges nor the particular regulations alleged to have been infringed were computed in such manner.

The letter further noted: “Guinness Nigeria is cognizant of its responsibility to adhere to relevant laws and regulations, which are applicable to its operations, including regulations issued by NAFDAC, and takes this obligation seriously.

“We remain committed to working with NAFDAC and other regulatory authorities in furtherance of our responsibility to produce and market quality products, which are enjoyed by consumers throughout Nigeria, and look forward to being able to resolve the issue, working in partnership with NAFDAC.”

Just last month, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) imposed a hefty fine of $5.2bn on MTN, the largest telecommunication outfit in the country, for failing to deactivate 5.2 million unregistered SIM cards. And the Central Bank of Nigeria imposed fines of N4billion each on three banks for hiding TSA funds.

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