Ex-NAFDAC DG dragged to EFCC over alleged corrupt practices

Posted by News Express | 10 April 2016 | 3,457 times

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The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to urgently investigate and prosecute the immediate past Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhi, over allegations of corruption and illegal registration of fake drugs.

In a petition dated 28th March, 2016 addressed to the office of the acting chairman of the anti-graft agency, the coalition through its chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, said it is expecting that the petition would necessitate prompt investigation into the allegations and also effect immediate reversal of fraudulent certification by the agency.

“We are in receipt of an insider petition, detailing several allegations against the immediate past Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii. He was accused of recertifying blacklisted Asian companies, reversing ban of some drugs and allowing dangerous drugs into the country for pecuniary gains and subject to financial inducements,” CSNAC said.

According to the petition, during the tenure of late Professor Dora Akunyili as NAFDAC Director General, an assessment was conducted on all the pharmaceutical companies importing drugs into the country and based on outcome of the assessment, some Asian countries were blacklisted for their records and penchant for producing substandard or outright fake drugs/products.

According to CSNAC, “On assumption of duty as DG, Dr. Paul Orhii recertified some of them and reallocated previously withdrawn NAFDAC registration numbers. The implication of this is that even if a drug/product carries a NAFDAC number, it is not a guarantee that it is genuine. Registration and recertification of drugs are now done indiscriminately.

“Some of the allegedly blacklisted companies that were brought back by Dr. Orhii are:

KAMALA Overseas Bombay 400002 India

MISSION Pharmaceuticals Limited India

PLIVA Pakistan (PVT) Limited

MILAN Laboratories India.”

The petition also stated that the former Director General reversed the ban on Monotherapy  Artesunate, an anti-malaria treatment which has been banned worldwide by the World Health Organization (WHO).

It named some of the companies Dr. Orhii permitted to bring the drugs to Nigeria as CUS Pharmacy, NEROS Pharmacy, GENEITH Pharmacy and EMBASSY Pharma Ltd.

Dr. Orhii was also alleged to have allowed the entry of dangerous drugs like TRAMADOL into the country. According to the petition, “The said drug is highly regulated and no county in the world allows the use of more than 50mg, as it is like a narcotic in the class of cocaine. In October 2014, about 4 x 40ft and 1 x 40ft containers of unregistered drugs were intercepted at Apapa ports, including Tramadol 200mg and 150mg (far above the approved 50mg).

“The said containers were seized by NAFDAC officials and on January 14, 2015, Dr. Orhii called a press conference to announce the seizure but on July 20th, 2015, he ordered the release of the dangerous drugs into the society, after allegedly receiving some millions of dollars as bribe. The said containers were released to one Dr. David West.”

Amongst other alleged corrupt practices, Dr. Orhii has also been accused of posting loyal members of staff to some posts to receive bribes on his behalf. “Currently,” the petition said, “the Nigerian Law does not allow importation of drugs through the land borders except through the air and sea. However, some drugs are been brought in through the Seme and Idiroko borders by corrupt means.

“It is alleged that one Hassan Tanko facilitates the passage of fake drugs at Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc and remits $5,000 as returns to Dr. Orhii weekly. His other accomplices are named as Ekine Titi, Goddy and a popular clearing agent “IBRO”. The fake drugs are said to usually come in through Qatar Airways or DHL cargo.

“We are by this petition demanding an urgent investigation into these allegations and immediate reversal of fraudulent certification by the agency.”

•Photo shows ex-NAFDAC DG, Dr. Paul Orhii.

Source: News Express

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