NAFDAC arraigns businessman for alleged importation of fake anti-malarial drug in Anambra
Obinna Igbo, a 32-year-old businessman, has been arrested by the National Agency for Food and Medicine Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for allegedly importing and selling fake Amanta Forte, an unregulated anti-malarial drug.
Mr. Igbo has been charged with illegally importing, possessing, selling, and distributing fake Amanta Forte soft gel (Artemether 80mg + Lumefantrine 480mg Capsules) at head bridge market in Onitsha, Anambra State, according to reports.
The defendant sold the fake drugs at Shop E200, Freedom Line, Onitsha after importing them into the country, according to a statement signed by NAFDAC’s resident media consultant, Sayo Akintola, in Lagos on Monday, May 30.
According to NAFDAC’s Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, officials from the agency’s Investigation and Enforcement Directorate raided three pharmaceutical outlets in Onitsha’s head bridge market: Triphon Point Global Limited, Emma Medicals Nigeria Limited, and Ekeh Mountain Global Ventures Limited.
The offending product was discovered in Triphon Point Global Limited, according to the NAFDAC DG, and the product was subsequently evacuated while the shop was placed on hold.
She went on to say that the shops at Emma Medicals and Ekeh Mountain Global Ventures Limited were both visited and thoroughly screened.
She however, said that the offending product was not found being displayed on their shelves, but their sales books revealed that the product was sold by them.
The three stores were put on hold, according to NAFDAC, while the management directors were summoned for further questioning.
She added that the three suspects were probed separately and their statements taken, and that they claimed to have obtained the product from one Blessed OJ Don Global Link on the market.
The three suspects further indicated, according to the NAFDAC DG, that if given the chance, they would assist the Agency in apprehending Mr Obinna Igbo.
Prof Adeyeye added that all attempts to apprehend Mr Igbo were unsuccessful because he was on the run, aware that he was being pursued by NAFDAC.
She went on to say that a tracking device was used to track him down in Onitsha, where he was eventually apprehended and detained by NAFDAC’s investigation and enforcement personnel in Asaba before being moved to the investigation and enforcement office in Lagos state..
Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye added that during interrogation, Igbo freely admitted that he was the importer of Amanta Forte Soft Gel, an illicit antimalarial medicine trafficked into Nigeria from Ghana.
The products were made in India and marketed by Mitzaagold International FZE Amin Hussain market, AL Trade Zone, Dubai, UAE, according to the date stamps on the products.
He claimed, however, that he also imported other pharmaceutical products into the nation, some of which are antihypertensive medications.
He admitted in his statement that he sold the product to the stores visited by NAFDAC during the operation.
Igbo, however, pleaded not guilty before Justice Tijani Ringim.
Despite the fact that Igbo’s defence counsel, Mr. A.C. Oforjiuba, sought an bail application, prosecution counsel, Chinyere Okoli asked the court to remand him in detention pending trial.
The judge, however, ordered that he should remain in a correctional facility pending a formal bail application.
The case was adjourned until June 6 for trial.
The offences contravened the provisions of section 1(a) of the counterfeit and fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 2004.
They also contravened the provisions of sections 1(1) of the food, drugs and related products Registration Act of 2004, according to the agency.