Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday remanded a businessman, Ibegbu Anayo, in custody after he was arraigned a 12-count charge of producing substandard engine oil after rebranding them.
Anayo was charged by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) with producing and distributing adulterated Total and Mobil automobile engine lubricants.
In the charge, SON alleged that Anayo and others now at large, on July 15, 2020, at Mammy Market, Navy Town, Ojo, “did indulge in the production of adulterated/substandard Total and Mobil engine oil lubricants for public consumption.”
The products, according to SON, did not comply with the mandatory industrial standards for lubricants, an offence punishable under Section 26(2) of the SON Act, 2015.
The prosecution alleged further that he also failed to comply with SON’s Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) for locally manufactured products, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 26(2) of the SON Act.
The prosecution said alleged that Anayo “did engage in the distribution of adulterated/substandard engine oil of Total, Mobil, Naris Gold brand and other lubricants without lawful authority or license.”
Part of the allegations against Anayo by SON is that he “did deal in” the products and “did adulterate” petroleum products to wit: engine oil of various brands “which are not of the quality, nature and efficacy expected of the products.”
In count charge seven, the prosecution said Anayo offered to sell the substandard products to unsuspecting customers while count charge eight allege that Anayo affixed false labels on kegs of various sizes and unbranded cartons and claimed they were genuine Total and Mobil engine oil, which was “calculated to deceive unsuspecting consumers that the products are genuine Total or Mobil products.”
The alleged offence according to the prosecution is contrary to Section 3(1) (b) of the Merchandise Marks Act of 2004 and punishable under Section 3(3) (a) and (c).
Count 9 reads: “That you Ibegbu Anayo and others now at large on or about 15th July 2020 at Mammy Market, Navy town, Ojo within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did apply false trade descriptions of ‘Total and Mobil’ on various kegs of different sizes and unbranded cartons knowing them to be false, with the intent that they may be used or acted upon as genuine.”
The prosecuting counsel, Yusuf Lawan, a Senior State Counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice, said the alleged offence is contrary to Section 465 of the Criminal Code Act of 2004 and punishable under Section 467.
Anayo pleaded not guilty to all the counts and Justice Aikawa ordered that he should be remanded in police custody pending the hearing of his bail application and adjourned the matter till Tuesday.
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