A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday fixed November 4 to hear a government-instituted case against the chief executive officers of Coca-Cola Nig. Ltd. and Nigerian Bottling Company, NBC, Ltd.
The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, had filed a suit against the chief executives officers of Coca-Cola and NBC alleging criminal breach of the Consumer Protection, CPC, Act.
The Coca-Cola and NBC executives are facing a three-count charge before Justice Evoh Chukwu.
In the suit, the AGF, Mohammed Adoke seeks to arraign Adeola Adetunji, Coca-Cola, and Ben Langat, NBC.
The chief executives, if found guilty, would be liable to jail terms ranging from three to five years.
In the one-count charge against NBC and its MD, the Nigerian government said the two accused persons committed an offence by violating the orders of the Consumer Protection Council.
The charge reads in part: “By deliberately failing, refusing and/or neglecting to comply with the council’s orders duly made and served on you, you committed an offence.
“The offence is contrary to Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Council Act, Cap C. 25, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same Section.’’
Similarly, Coca-Cola and its MD are accused of violating the orders of the council by deliberately refusing to comply with the order duly made and served on them.
The offence contravenes the provisions of Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Council Act, Cap C. 25, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004, punishable under the same section.
Coca-Cola and its MD are also accused of refusing to attend a hearing of the Consumer Protection Council held in relation to an investigation of violation of product quality standard.
The second-count charge contravenes the provisions of Section 18 of the Consumer Protection Council Act Cap C. 25 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004, punishable under the same section.
The CPC had indicted both companies following findings by an administrative panel set up over a consumer’s complaint regarding two half-empty cans of Sprite which might be a public health hazard.
The CPC’s Director-General, Dupe Atoki, at a recent media briefing, disclosed that the panel substantiated the allegation of product defect and violation of the CPC Act against both companies.