3 Lagos Traders Face Trial Over Alleged Importation Of Fake Drugs

Trial of three traders and a company, accused of importing fake pharmaceutical products to the country, has been for fixed October 11 and 12, 2023, by a Lagos Federal High Court.

The traders to be tried before Justice Ayokunle Faji led-court are; Bernard Chinweuba, Valentine Duru Ndukwe and Duru Valentine Chinwike, while the pharmaceutical company is named in the alleged crime is Vanchris Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Limited.

The traders were accused of importing the following fake drugs; Diclofenac Tablets BP 50mg (Diclosa 50), Coldtime Anti-cold Tablets, Sonidrex Tablets, 50mg, Collcap (Chlorpheniramine Maleate Capsules BP 4mg.

The traders who have their stores at 9, Olorogun Street, Idumota, Lagos, were arrested sometimes im September, 2022.

Their scheduled trial which was earlier fixed for Tuesday, was stalled, due to the absence of one of their lawyers.

At the resumed trial of the defendants, the prosecutor, Bartholomew Simeon, told the court that he was ready to go on with the trial of the case.

In convincing the court of his readiness for trial, the prosecutor told the court that one of his witnesses, Adams Kole Ajony, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) who investigated the alleged crime is in court with him.

However, Barrister I. C. Anima, counsel to the two of the defendants, told the court that counsel to other defendants told him that he was unable to be in court, as he was outside the jurisdiction of the court.

Anima also informed the court that there is an ongoing arrangement between the parties to settle the court out of court.

Responding to Anima’s submission, the prosecutor told the court that the other lawyer did not inform him of his absence.

On the out of court settlement, the prosecutor told the court that the defence lawyer out to have used ‘plea bargain’ instead of ‘out of court settlement’, because the suit against the defendants is a criminal one.

He also told the court that the issue of plea bargain as stated by the counsel was beyond his ability to determined, saying that it’s only his superiors in office.

With the absence of one of the defendants’ counsel, coupled with the plea bargain arrangement the the counsel said is on-going, and at the consent of both counsel, the matter was adjourned to October 11 and 12, for trial.

The traders and the company were brought before the court by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in a two-count charge numbered FHC/L/653c/22.

The charges against the defendants read: “that you, Vanchris Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Limited located In Kano, Duru Valentine Chinwike, Male, Adult, 30 Years old, of Fountain Estate off Airport Road, Kano State and Valentine Duru Ndukwe (now at large), who Is the Chairman of Sabongari Patent & Proprietary Medicine Dealers Association, Kano, resident in Kano, on or about the 8th day of September, 2022, at No. 9 Olorogun Street, Idumota, Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did aid one Mr Bernard Chinweuba, Male, Adult, 47 years old, of 0330, Sabon Gari Market, Kano/ No 1. Enugu Road, Sabon Gari, Kano, to import fake drugs to wit: Diclofenac Tablets BP 50mg (Diclosa 50), Coldtime Anti-cold Tablets, Sonidrex Tablets, 50mg, Collcap (Chlorpheniramine Maleate Capsules BP 4mg), and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(c) of the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Cap. C34, LFN, 2004 and punishable under Section 3 of the same Act. 

“That you, Bernard Chinweuba, male, adult, 47 years old, of 0330, Sabon Gari Market, Kano/ No 1. Enugu Road, Sabon Gari, Kano, on or about the 8th day of September, 2022, at No. 9 Olorogun Street, Idumota, Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did import unregistered drugs to wit: Diclofenac Tablets BP 50 mg (Diclosa 50), Coldtime Anti-cold Tablets, Sonidrex Tablets, 50mg, Colicap (Chlorpheniramine Maleate Capsules BP 4mg), and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) of the Food, Drugs and Related Products (Registration, ETC.) Act, Cap. £33, LFN, 2004 and punishable under Section 6 of the same Act.”