A 72-year-old businesswoman, Esther Akinsanya, was on Tuesday charged before a Federal High Court in Lagos over alleged packaging of unregistered Brazilian sugar as Dangote granulated sugar.

The accused is charged alongside her company, Esther Olufumilayo Nigeria Limited, before Justice Ayokunle Faji.

She is standing trial on a four-count charge bordering on false representation, importation and distribution of unregistered products.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation.

According to the prosecution, the accused imported various brands of granulated Brazilian Sugar namely: Aqucar Crystal Sugar, Aqucar Special Crystal Sugar, and Usina Belavista Sugar.

In addition, it said the products were repackaged as Dangote Sugar in a manner likely to create a wrong impression as to its value.

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The products were not fortified with Vitamin A contrary to the provisions of Section 1(1) of the Food Fortification with Vitamin A Regulation Act 2004.

She, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After her plea, the prosecutor, Mr Shamaki Umar, urged the court to give a date for trial.

Meanwhile, the defence counsel, while moving a bail application for the accused, urged the court to grant her bail on liberal terms.

He said the accused was diabetic and also had some health challenges. "She has no criminal records," he said.

But the prosecutor opposed the bail application on the grounds that the accused had interfered with a prosecution witness by telling him to stay away from court.

Umar added that the accused would continue to interfere with witnesses if granted bail.

After hearing their arguments, Justice Faji chided the defence counsel for not attaching medical records or a doctor's report in support of his application in spite of the fact that the accused had been charged since the court was on vacation.

Consequently, he adjourned the case until November 13 for the defence to get all the medical details and remanded the accused in prison pending the determination of her bail.


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