Lagos, Nigeria, June 7, 2015 — A couple of weeks ago, many news media reported that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) had shut down and sealed off popular confectionery Chocolate Royale in Lagos. Chocolate Royale is a subsidiary of AIM Group belonging to billionaire Lebanase business mogul, Mr. Amin Moussalli also owners of broadcast stations; Cool FM, Nigerian Info FM, Wazobia FM, Cool TV, Wee TV and Wazobia TV in Nigeria.
NAFDAC has released a statement explaining the Agency’s actions. According to the Agency, it sealed off Chocolate Royale for “various unethical practices and non-adherent to Good Manufacturing and Hygienic Practices”. NAFDAC reports that it had receive an avalanche of complaints of violation, tip-offs and an intelligence report, which indicted Chocolate Royale of illegal importation, storage and use of expired ingredients and food products for preparing of food and confectioneries served to its customers. Chocolate Royale was also accused of operating and maintaining illegal Cold-Rooms at their Managing Director’s residence.
Upon being unexpectedly inspected, NAFDAC inspectors carried out a nine hours operation on Chocolate Royale and the Managing Director’s residence and discovered offending products worth over N1bn. The products were evacuated from both premises in six vans. According to NAFDAC’s Director, Investigation and Enforcement, Mr. Kingsley Ejiofor, six persons were arrested in connection with the incident for intentionally obstructing NAFDAC officials while on official duties.
“The Agency has sealed both the Chocolate Royale facilities at Plot 267A Etim Inyang Cresent and the Managing Director’s residence on No 1, Karimu Kotun Street in Victoria Island, Lagos. Some top officials of the company were arrested for interrogation for willfully obstructing the NAFDAC operatives in course of their duties during the exercises . Products will be sampled and taken to the Laboratory for analysis, where the labels and contents will be properly analyzed. And at the end of the day when the results are out, that will determine the next of action”. Ejiofor said.
NAFDAC’s Director-General, Dr. Paul Orhii, after inspecting the seized products frowned at the development and assured Nigerians that the matter would be thoroughly investigated to ascertain the level of violations to aid prosecution. He revealed that apart from the products being expired, they were not registered by NAFDAC therefore should not have come into the country in the first place. The DG directed that in the course of the investigation, those handling the matter should request the company to furnish them with their clearing documents to ascertain if the offending products were legally cleared at the point of entry.
The DG also stated that Chocolate Royale will remain sealed and closed to the public until all the issues are fully investigated and resolved.