Judge Remands Counterfeiting Suspect in Prison

Martins Ifijeh
Justice Abdulaziz Anka of the Federal High Court in Lagos remanded a Lagos-based businessman, Benson Maduka in prison custody for the importation and sale of some unregistered cosmetic products.
The judge ordered that Maduka be kept in prison after he was arraigned before him by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on two-count charge of importing and selling fake cosmetic products.
According to NAFDAC prosecutor, Umar Shamaki, the accused person imported unregistered EWV Serum Lotion and EWV Q7 Gold Whitenizer contrary to Section 1 (1) of the Food, Drug and Related Product Act and punishable under Section 6 (a) of the same Act.
Maduka, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Justices Anka has adjourned the case till June 14 for the hearing of the accused person’s bail application and the commencement of trial.
In a related development, Justice Anka also convicted and imposed a fine of N150, 000 on a trader, Izuchukwu Chikelu for the sale of fake cosmetic products.
The judge handed down the verdict after Chikelu pleaded guilty to a five-count charge of possession and sale of some fake cosmetic products: Tara Liquid Makeup, Tala, Zaron Mattifying Power and Jordana power without lawful authorisation brought against him by NAFDAC.
Shamaki had told the court that the convict committed the offence on December 20, 2016 in Lagos contrary to Section 1 (1) of the Food, Drug and Related Product Act and punishable under Section 6 (a) of the same Act.
The convict, who was first arraigned on May 8, 2017, has pleaded guilty to the charge a development which made the judge to adjourn the case for review of fact and sentencing.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, the prosecutor tendered the seized cosmetic products and two extrajudicial statement made by the convict to the agency.
The lawyer also urged the court to convict and send Chikelu to prison in order to send a clear message to other people in the illicit trade that crime does not pay.
However, the convict’s counsel, D. M. Ayama urged the court to temper justice with mercy because his client has learned from the experience.
Ayama also appealed to the judge to impose fine on his client instead of a custodian sentence since he did not waste the time of the court and tax payer’s money by prolonging the trial.
In his judgment, Justice Anka noted the conducts of the convict in court and the fact that the sections of the law under which he was docked gave the court the discretion of imposing a fine.
He therefore ordered the convict to pay the sum of N50, 000 on counts one and two, N50, 000 on counts three and four and another N50, 000 on count five.
The court also ordered that all the seized products be forfeited to the federal government.
Recently, NAFDAC won several cases, some of them include that of Sylvanus Ifeanyi Nwanoro who was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment for sale of fake cof-n-cold with codeine syrup; Osita Paul was convicted for five years imprisonment for importation and sale of fake Buscomac, Maloxine, Lumartem and Lofnac tabs.
Others are Clarah Onah who had seven years imprisonment for manufacture and sale of fake Metronidazole tabs; Okwara Emmanuel, three years imprisonment for manufacture and distribution of counterfeit Rambo, Baygon and Izol Antiseptic; and Oyibo Juliana Madu- who had an option of fine of N55,000 for sale of unregistered Moet and Chandonne wine.