6 Arrested for Importing, Distributing Expired Drinks
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has uncovered a warehouse where a specific brand of organic energy drink imported from the UK has its expiry date altered.
In Delta and Anambra States, six suspected counterfeiters were arrested for their involvement in importing, distributing, and selling unregistered and expired organic energy drinks.
NAFDAC’s Director-General, Moji Adeyeye, reported the arrest of Okeke Udeze Francis in Onitsha with expired G-Man organic energy drink, while Uchenna Nwachi was apprehended in Aba, Abia state through the help of one Collins.
Subsequently, a thorough investigation led to the discovery of the warehouse in Aba, where evidence of tampering with the drink’s expiry date was established.
Adeyeye revealed that Okeke confessed to handling the G-Man energy drink and disclosed that he received the product from Uchenna Nwachi, facilitated by Collins in Aba, Abia state.
The case has been transferred to the office of the Director, Investigation and Enforcement Directorate in Lagos.
Adeyeye emphasized the need to intensify efforts to apprehend the remaining suspects.
Further investigations revealed that the infringing G-Man energy drink was manufactured in Germany and imported into Nigeria when some of the products had already expired, while others were near their expiration dates (which occurred after importation).
“The expiry dates on the products when imported were 18/12/2020 and 18/12/2022. The violative products were sent to Nigeria by one Mr Paschal Emeka Udo, who is said to be based in the United Kingdom. Mr Wilson John who was an accomplice in the case was later arrested after we extracted a video recording of him cleaning the original date markings on the products with the intent to affix an extended date marking on the G-Man energy drink” Adeyeye said.
Adeyeye categorized the incident as a case of food fraud and confirmed that Uchenna Nwachi, who had hired Wilson (a member of the importer’s staff) to alter the product’s validation, had also been arrested.
She said that efforts were on-going to apprehend two of the suspects, including the importer of the product who was currently evading capture.
The detained suspects would be brought before the court to face charges, Adeyeye stated.
In a separate development, Adeyeye disclosed that the agency had detained Emmanuel Obidike, the managing director of Tof Match Investment Ltd. in Onitsha.
Obidike was notorious for being involved in the illicit trade of counterfeit prescription drugs.
Adeyeye explained that through intelligence gathering and tracing, they were able to locate the rumoured importer of fake Basslox capsules (ampicillin 250 mg + cloxacillin 250 mg), leading to the arrest of the infamous importer and distributor of counterfeit drugs and narcotics, Mr. Emmanuel Obidike.
“Painstaking surveillance and investigation on the reported case of Basslox capsules lead to the arrest of one Mr Anayo Okoye who eventually led us to Mr Emmanuel Obidike who is a notorious importer of counterfeit medicines,”he said
Adeyeye stated that due to Obidike’s criminal activities involving the forgery of popular drug brands, he had gained the notorious nickname “Emma to-can from various international brands, as well as packaging materials and security equipment. Adeyeye asserted that the owners of the marketing authorizations for these well-known international brands confirmed that the seized items from Mr. Emmanuel Obidike were counterfeit because they were not manufactured by their respective companies.
She further disclosed that the two suspects, including Obidike, had been formally charged in the Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra state.