By A’isha Biola Raji
In line with the direction of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the Managing Director of Coca-Cola Nigeria, Adeola Adetunji and the Chief Executive of Nigerian Bottling Company, Ben Langat were yesterday present in court.
However, the ruling was stalled, as the court registrar informed counsel and parties in the matter that the ruling was not ready.
The court had fixed yesterday for ruling to decide the competence and authority of the Federal Government’s counsel, Chief Bayo Ojo SAN in a criminal suit instituted against Coca-Cola Nigeria, NBC and their Chief Executives.
The court consequently fixed February 3, 2015 for the ruling.
The office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) had instituted two separate criminal suits against Coca-Cola, NBC alongside their Chief Executives over alleged violation of CPC Act.
The defendants are challenging the mandate given to Bayo Ojo, SAN by the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute them for alleged violation of the Consumers Protection Council Act.
They are also challenging the competence of the charge and the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the charge.
Meanwhile, Nigerian judiciary 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 co-ordinator of the Society for Social Development and Good Leadership, Ikenna Agu stated in Abuja that the judiciary has established its reputation as an impartial arbiter and will not be swayed by extra-judicial means in procuring judgments.
Mr. 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.
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 had 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.