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Published On: Fri, Dec 19th, 2014

CPC, Coca Cola suit: Judiciary urged to be firm

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Coca-Cola NigeriaBy A’isha Biola Raji with agency report

The Nigerian judiciary system has been urged to stick to the finest principles of adjudication in the suit between the Consumer Protection Council and Coca Cola Nigeria Limited.

The judiciary said Ikenna Agu of the Society for Social Development and Good Leadership, has established its reputation as an impartial arbiter and will not be swayed by extra-judicial means in procuring judgments.

Agu said this in reaction to renowned lawyer, Femi Falana’s letter to the global CEO of Coca Cola, in which he raised several issues which are unrelated to the case.

“Falana went on to pronounce Coca Cola guilty even when he is fully aware that there is a subsisting case in court. Making such statements is tantamount to attempting to sway the judiciary and make the CPC’s case better than it is. Mr Falana should allow the parties that are already in court continue with the judicial process without seeking to unduly influence its outcome,” he said.

The CPC is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Coca Cola and its bottler, the Nigerian Bottling Company, over a consumer complaint which bothers on a manufacturing defect on the filling of two cans of Sprite soft. The CPC thereafter slammed a fine of N100million on both Coca Cola and NBC, a matter which the beverage companies are contesting in court. According to the CPC, N60million is for investigating the two half-filled cans of Sprite and the balance N40million as civil penalties. The consumer will be paid N50,000.

“Rather than hound companies operating in Nigeria, government agencies such as the CPC should strive to ensure that businesses meet their obligations while ensuring that the interest of the consumer is protected. This can be done without going overboard, as it is with CPC requiring Coca Cola to pay N100million for a manufacturing defect on filling of two cans of Sprite out of a massive production batch,” said Mr. Agu.

The resumed hearing of the case continues Thursday December 18, 2014. Coca and NBC at every point have reiterated their willingness to respect the decision of the court on its application for a judicial review of the CPC’s order.

 

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