Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Corruption: Group Petitions EFCC Over ex-NAFDAC DG, Orhii

Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), an anti-corruption coalition,  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.

In a petition addressed to the acting chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, through the coalition chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, CSNAC said it expects that the petition will provoke a prompt investigation into the allegations and also bring about an 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 the ban on some drugs and allowing dangerous drugs into the country for pecuniary gains and subject to financial inducements," the petition read.
The petition also stated that during the tenure of the late Professor Dora Akunyili as Director General of the Agency, an assessment was conducted on all the pharmaceutical companies importing drugs into the country and based on outcomes of the assessment, some Asian countries were blacklisted for their records and penchant for producing substandard or outright fake drugs/products.
"On the assumption of duty as D.G, 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 Paul Orhii recertified some of them and reallocated previously withdrawn NAFDAC registration numbers.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. 
The petition listed  the allegedly blacklisted as companies  brought back by Dr. Orhii as including  Kamala Overseas Bombay 400002 India, Mission  Pharmaceuticals Limited India, Pliva Pakistan (PVT) Limited and Milan Laboratories India."
Also,  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 World Health Organization (WHO). 
"Some of the companies he permitted to bring the drugs to Nigeria are; Cus Pharmacy, which brings Cusnate; Neros  Pharmacy, which imports Artesunate; Geneith Pharmacy and Embassy ‎ Pharma Ltd," the petition stated.
Dr. Orhii has also been alleged to have allowed the entry of dangerous drugs like Tramadol into the country.  Tramadol, explained the petition, is highly regulated, with it use restricted to a maximum of and  50mg in every country of the world. It is said to be 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 a bribe. The said containers were released to one Dr. David West," alleged the petition.
Other corrupt practices Orhii has been accused of involvement in include posting loyal staff to where they received bribes on his behalf. "Currently, the Nigerian Law does not allow importation of drugs through the land borders except through the air and sea. However, some drugs are 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 his favorite clearing agent 'Ibro'. The fake drugs are said to usually come in through Qatar Airways or DHL carg‎o.

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