Guinness Nigeria Plc on Thursday said “there is no legal basis” for the payment of the N1bn fine imposed on it by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
The company said this in a letter to the Nigerian Stock Exchange in which it informed the bourse of the fine and its position on the developments leading to the imposition of the fine.
NAFDAC had in a letter to the Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria, Mr. Peter Ndegwa, asked the company to, among other things, pay N1bn as administrative charges for various clandestine violations of its rules, regulations and enactments over a long period of time.
However, in its letter to the Exchange, Guinness Nigeria said, “We do not understand the basis for the computation of the administrative charges nor the particular regulations alleged to have been infringed, and had expected that our discussions with NAFDAC would give us better clarity on the issue and hopefully help its resolution.
“We have been advised that there is no legal basis for the demand by NAFDAC for the payment of the said sum and we hope that our engagement with NAFDAC will enlighten the organisation about the correct position.”
NAFDAC had also accused Guinness Nigeria of revalidating expired products without authorisation and supervision by the agency.
The agency added that the company failed 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 permanently opened to intrusion and exposure to the elements and rodents, which “invariably affect the integrity of the raw materials.”
But in a statement on Thursday, Guinness gave an assurance that all of its products conformed to the highest standards of quality.
It said the products were produced in line with the globally accepted code of good manufacturing and had been repeatedly certified as such by NAFDAC and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.
Ndegwa was quoted as saying, “The meticulous and painstaking work, including rigorous quality assurance, that precedes the final production of all our products, has a singular objective: to ensure that our consumers drink products that are healthy and comparable with similar products made by a Diageo facility anywhere else in the world.”
He stressed that the allegations made by NAFDAC related to raw materials in one of the company’s stores, which was not a production facility, adding that the allegations were being taken seriously by the company.
The company, which noted that it had operated in Nigeria for more than 60 years, said it had conducted its business in accordance with the country’s laws and regulation, and its parent company, Diageo’s global policies and procedures relating to good manufacturing practices.