Justice A.O. Faji, of the Federal High Court, Asaba, Delta State, on Tuesday sentenced a 58-year-old man, Isaac Uti, to 15 years and six months imprisonment, for producing and storing ethanol locally known as Kai-Kai or Ogogoro, under insanitary condition.
His son, Jonathan (29), however got a lighter sentence of 11 years and six months behind bars without fine for the same offences.
Besides the jail term, Mr. Uti was fined N250,000.00 for carrying out the business considered to be hazardous to human health, under insanitary condition.
Jonathan Uti (1st defendant) and Isaac Uti (2nd defendant), were arraigned by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on a five-count charge bothering on possession, production, sale, manufacture and storage of the product under insanitary condition, in charge number FHC/ASB/36c/2015.
According to the charge sheet, in count one, the defendants who reside at Ogume, in Delta State, were on or about September 7, 2015, found in possession of unwholesome processed food to wit: Ethanol (Kai-Kai/Ogogoro) and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1 of the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. CAP C34 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 3(a) of the same act.
In counts two and three, the defendants were accused of producing and selling the product, an offense contrary to the stated provisions of the law and punishable under same.
In count four which was struck out, the defendants were accused of manufacturing the product, an offense contrary to Section 1(a) and (b) of the Food and Drug Act CAP F32 LFN 2004, and punishable under Section 17(1) of the same act.
Also, count five accused the defendants of storing the product under insanitary condition, thereby committing an offense contrary to Section 1(3) of the Food and Drug Act CAP F32 LFN 2004, and punishable under Section 17(1) of the same act.
The Court held that the jail terms will begin on December 4, 2017, when he convicted the defendants on three out of the five count charges preferred against them by prosecution.
Justice Faji convicted the defendants on counts one, two and five but discharged and acquitted them on count three for lack of evidence, just as he struck out count four as it amounted to duplicity.
He sentenced the 2nd defendant (Isaac, being the owner of the business) to seven years, each, imprisonment on counts one and two, and 18 months jail term with a fine of N250,000.00 on count five.
The 1st defendant (Jonathan) bagged five years, each, imprisonment on counts one and two, and 18 months jail term without fine on count five.
Justice Faji while handing down the punishment, held that the offenses constituted serious health hazards the human populace, adding that the defendants stand to gain financially from the venture at the grave risk of consumers.
Reacting to the judgement, the Prosecution Counsel, Adumen Jombo Washington, who hailed the judgment, said that it will serve as deterrent to others envying the successes of the defendants, and with the intention of going into the same business.