73 Years Old Trader Convicted for Faking Dangote Sugar

A Federal High Court, Lagos, has convicted a Lagos-based businesswoman, Esther Olufunmilayo Akinsanya, for faking, distributing and selling unfortified Brazilian sugars as Dangote Sugars.

The court presided over by Justice Ayotunde Faji, convicted the 73 years old businesswoman on Monday, after she pleaded guilty to four counts charge of the offence, following a terms of plea bargain.

Akinsanya, was first arraigned before the court on November 7, 2017, by the National Agency For Foods and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC), on a six count-charge of the counterfeiting Dangote Sugars.

During her arraignment, NAFDAC’s prosecutor, Mr. Umaru Shamaki, had told the court that the businesswoman was arrested alongside some of her workers at her shop located at 1, Tailor Road, Iddo, Lagos, on August 2, 2017, where they were rebagging some unfortified Brazilian sugars into Dangote Sugar bags.

NAFDAC further told the
In the charge marked FHC/L/293c/2017, NAFDAC accused the trader of unlawful importation of some Brazilian sugars, which are not fortified with Vitamin ‘A’, such as: Aqucar Crystal Sugar; Aqucar Special Crystal sugar; and Usina Belavista sugar.

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The offences according to the Shamaki are contrary to sections 5(a), 1(1) of the Food and Drugs Act Cap l. F.33, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under sections 17(1) and (2), 8(1) and (2), 17(1) and (2) and 6 (1) (a) and (b) of the same Act”.

The businesswoman had pleaded not guilty to all the charges. She was subsequently admitted to bail.

At the resumed trial of the businesswoman on Monday, the prosecutor informed the court that the charge against the accused has been reduced to three counts, and that the businessman had decided to change her plea, following terms of plea bargain she conceded to.

Shamaki therefore urged the court to allow the charge to be read to that accused, so that her plea may be retaken.

The businesswoman lawyers, Felix Nwokolo and N. I. Fayehun, confirmed the prosecutor’s position.

Consequently, Justice Faji, ordered that the charge be read to the woman for her plea to be retaken.

Upon the reading of the charge to the businesswoman, she pleaded guilty to all the counts of the charge.

Following her guilty plea, Justice Faji pronounced her guilty as charged, and convicted her accordingly.

After the businesswoman’s conviction, the prosecutor, Shamaki told this court to fine her according to the terms of plea bargain.

Consequently, Justice Faji, ordered her to pay a total sum of N1.3 million, as contained in the terms of plea bargain. And that all the offending products, that is the unfortified Brazilian sugars rebagged into Dangote sugar bags be forfeited to NAFDAC.

Justice Faji also ordered that the fined sum should be paid into the federal government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA), and that the businesswoman be remanded until fulfilling the terms of plea bargain.

Parts of the charges against the businesswoman reads: “That you Esther Akinsanya, Femi Abraham Adebiyi, and Esther Olufunmilayo Akinsanya Nigeria Limited, on or about August 2, 2017, at 1, Tailor Road, Iddo, Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did sell Aqucar Crystal Sugar; Aqucar Special Crystal sugar; and Usina Belavista sugar as Dangote Sugar, in a manner likely to create wrong impression as to its value contrary to section 5(a) of the Food and Drugs Act Cap l. F.33, LFN 2004, and punishable under sections 17(1) and (2) of the same Act”.

Another count reads: “That you Esther Akinsanya, Femi Abraham Adebiyi, and Esther Olufunmilayo Akinsanya Nigeria Limited, on or about August 2, 2017, at 1, Tailor Road, Iddo, Lagos state, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, imported various brands of granulated Brazilian sugar to wit: Aqucar Crystal Sugar; Aqucar Special Crystal sugar; and Usina Belavista sugar, without registration, contrary to section 1(1) of the Food, Drugs and related products (Registration) Act Cap. F.33, LFN 2004, and punishable under sections 6 (1) (a) and (b) of the same Act”.

And fourth count reads: “That you Esther Akinsanya, Femi Abraham Adebiyi, and Esther Olufunmilayo Akinsanya Nigeria Limited, on or about August 2, 2017, at 1, Tailor Road, Iddo, Lagos, imported food to wit: Aqucar Crystal Sugar; Aqucar Special Crystal sugar; and Usina Belavista sugar as Dangote Sugar, which are not fortified with Vitamin ‘A’, contrary to section 1(1) of the Food forrification with Vitamin ‘A’ regulation 2005, and punishable under sections 8(1) and (2) of the same Act”.

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