October 28, 2014

No summons on us over half-empty cans – NBC, Coca-Cola

No summons on us over half-empty cans – NBC, Coca-Cola

By Princewill Ekwujuru

Nigerian Bottling Company, NBC and Coca Cola Nigeria Limited said, yesterday, they had not been served with any court summons as a result of the suit filed against them by the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, over half-empty Sprite cans.

The companies, in a co- signed statement by the Head, Public Affairs & Communications of NBC, Uzo Odenigbo and Head, Public Affairs & Communications of CCNL, Clem Ugorji, said they had only noted from media reports that criminal charges had been instituted against both companies as a result of the Consumer Protection Council’s CPC’s reaction to February 2014 complaint by a consumer involving two short–filled cans of Sprite. “To date we have not been served with any criminal charges,” the statement said.

Continuing, the statement said NBC and CCNL had the utmost respect for the CPC as a regulator and an agency of government and would continue to co-operate with the council on the matter.

According to the statement, “we filed applications for a judicial review of these orders in February 2014, which review is pending in the courts. We do not believe that our submission to judicial review is in violation of the council’s orders. We have full trust in the Nigerian judicial system.

“Our consumers and customers are our highest priority. NBC and CCNL take all matters relating to our products very seriously and remain committed to maintaining the highest international quality and food safety standards.”

It added, “out of respect for the ongoing court processes, we do not wish to comment further in public on this issue.”

It could be recalled that in February CPC warned Coca-Cola that Nigeria was not a “dumping ground for substandard products” and that it had also been inundated with complaints about rusty cans, rusty bottle tops and foreign particles in beverages.

It said the half-filled cans continued to evaporate during its investigation.

Attorney General Mohammed Bello Adoke, who is also the justice minister, filed the suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja against Coca-Cola Nigeria and its chief executive, and the NBC and its managing director for criminal breach of the Consumer Protection Act.

He accused both companies of “deliberately failing, refusing and/or neglecting to comply” with orders to subject their manufacturing processes to its inspection, and filed an additional charge against Coca-Cola for refusing to appear before the council. Nigerian Bottling manufactures the products under the license and authority of Coca-Cola Nigeria.