The Federal High Court 8, Abuja has fixed Tuesday, November 4 for the arraignment of Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and Nigeria Bottling Company Limited and their managing directors for alleged violation of the Consumer Protection Council Act.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, filed three counts against the accused before Justice Evoh Chukwu.
The global soft drink giant, CCNL, and its franchise bottler in the country, NBC, are currently facing prosecution for allegedly violating the orders of the council on safety standards and regulations, and enhanced consumer welfare.
This was after an administrative panel set up to investigate a consumer complaint regarding two half-empty cans of Sprite manufactured by NBC under the licence and authority of CCNL found them culpable.
If found guilty, the chief executive officers of both companies risk a jail term ranging from three to five years, according to the Nigerian Consumer Protection Council Act.
As part of the administrative panel’s recommendations, CPC, a parastatal under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, had ordered both firms to subject their manufacturing processes to inspection for a period of 12 months to ensure compliance with laid down safety standards and regulations, while demanding necessary compensation for the complainant.
They were also directed to formulate a shelf-life policy for their products; review their consumer grievance resolution, supply chain management and product traceability policies; and to present written assurances that they would refrain from any conduct that would be detrimental to the interest of consumers.
The Federal Government in the charge against the NBC and its Managing Director, Mr. Ben Langat, which was filed by the Director, Public Prosecutions of the Federation on behalf of the attorney-general, alleged that the two accused persons committed an offence by violating the orders of the CPC by “deliberately failing, refusing and/or neglecting to comply with the council’s orders duly made and served on you and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Council Act, Cap C. 25, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section.”