A 72-year-old Lagos businesswoman, Esther Olufumilayo Akinsanya, nabbed for allegedly repackaging unfortified Brazillian sugars into Dangote Sugar bags is now facing criminal trial in Lagos.
The businesswoman and her company, Esther Olufunmilayo Nigeria Limited, are facing trial on six count charges of import of unwholesome processed food, found in possession of same, packaging of unwholesome processed foods.
The duo were alleged to be selling the unwholesome processed foods items, and that without lawful authority brought into Nigeria various brands of granulated Brazillian sugars which were not fortified with Vitamin ‘A’ re packaging of unregistered Brazilian sugar as granulated sugar.
NAFDAC in a charge marked FHC/L/293C/17, stated that the businesswoman committed the offence on at her company located at 1, Tailor road, Iddo, Lagos, on August 2, 2017.
Some of the unfortified Brazillian sugars allegedly being repackaged into Dangote Sugar bags by the accused are: Aqucar Crystal Sugar, Aqucar Special Sugar Crystal Sugar and Usina Belavista Sugar.
The alleged offences are contrary to and punishable under Sections 1(a), 5(a) and (b)1(1), of the food and drugs Act Cap. F32, LFN 2004, and punishable under Section 3(1)(a), 17(1) & (2), 6(1) &(2) and 8(1) & (2) of the same Act.
The accused had pleaded not guilty, before she had been admitted to bail.
At the resumed trial of the accused, the prosecution witness, Sergeant Inse, while being led-evidence by the prosecutor, Mr. Umaru Shamaki, told the court that on August 2, 2017, while on Special duty, inspected the businesswoman’s warehouse, where they met a labourer named Usman Mohammed who was rebagging the Brazillian unfortified sugars into Dangote Sugar bags, for N30.00 par bag.
The witness also told the court that while the labourer was being interrogated, the businesswoman joined them in the company of his sales clerk, Femi Adebiyi.
He stated further that upon searching the warehouse, the labourer had rebagged about 150 bags, while several Dangote bags, weighing machine, a generating plant, sewing machine and threads were recovered.
All the recovered items were tendered and admitted as exhibits by the court.
Lawyer to the businesswoman, Mr. Alex Nwokolo who did not opposed the admissibility of the exhibits opposed tendering the statement of the defendant as exhibit on the ground that it was not signed by his client.
Justice Faji said relevance is the basis of admitting statements not signature.
Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Ayotunde Faji, adjourned the matter till February 28, for continuation of trial.