(Exclusive) Why NAFDAC shuts down Chocolat Royal, cool, wazobia FM chairman on the run
Chocolat Royale outlet at 267A Etim Iyang Crescent VI, Lagos
*DG vows to prosecute offenders
*Says company will remain close until after investigation
Don Norman Obinna.
real reasons the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and
Control (NAFDAC) Tuesday night, sealed completely the business outlet of
a popular elite and confectionary company, Chocolat Royal has emerged,
The City Reporters can exclusively report.
Apart from the importation, storage and use of fake, unregistered and
expired/unwholesome food products to produce consumables for customers,
we can authoritatively report that Chocolat Royal was sealed by NAFDAC
on discovery of six illegal 40ft cold rooms fully stocked with
contaminated food products built on top of sewages (suck away pit) and
in front of toilets.
Not only that majority of these food products discovered, have expired
since 2004, (11- years ago) and the least 2013, the most worrisome
aspect of it all was the discovery to the consternation of NAFDAC
officials that the management of Chocolat Royal had revalidated the
expiring dates of almost all the food products, while 90 % of them were
not even written in English language and therefore not registered.
While two of the illegal cold rooms built in front of toilets were
discovered at the Chocolat Royal headquarters at 267A Etim Iyang
Crescent, another two were discovered and also sealed at N0 1 Karimu
Kotun resident of the Chairman, Mr Amin Moussalli both located in
Victoria Island Lagos.
Investigations revealed that Mr Moussalli the chairman of AIM
consultants with chains of media houses which include, Cool, Nigeria
Info, Wazobia FM stations, Cool as well as WEE television stations who
is now at large travels abroad to source for companies whose food
products have few months to expire.
This Lebanese business mogul receives these products mostly for free or
at a reduced price and also gets paid from these companies to evacuate
the products which ordinarily would have cost them colossal amount of
money to dispose and ships in large quantities to Nigeria which has
become his dumping ground for food toxic for close to two decades.
These products are then cleared at the wharf and offloaded inside the
two cold rooms at his Karimu Kotun resident, Victoria Island where they
are then transferred to Chocolat Royal headquarters and then used to
prepare ice creams, chocolates, beverages and pastries for members of
At the end of the double operations which lasted for nine hours,
imported fake, unregistered and expired food products worth over N1bn
stocked in these illegal cold rooms were evacuated in six Hilux vans and
buses which NAFDAC stormed the place with.
This remarkable feat by NAFDAC was as a result of a tip off from The
City Reporters editor/ associate editor New Telegraph who for three
years has investigated the activities of Chocolat Royal; a company
reputable for playing host to top Nigerian and foreign echelons ,
including governors, legislatures, managing directors, artistes and
others for close to two decades.
When the officials of Food and Drug regulatory Agency stormed Chocolat
Royal at exactly 12:15PM with some team of mobile police officers, they
were resisted vehemently from carrying out their duties by some senior
staff of the confectionary company led by the Finance Director Mr. Idowu
Adebayo and others who apparently were on the know of the plot by their
Management to decimate Nigeria’s population through food poison.
Understanding the gravity of what was about to happen if eventually
discovered, they denied NAFDAC officials’ access to the cold rooms and
stores to forestall more discoveries after some large quantities of the
expired food products were discovered in their freezers, kitchens and
bars upstairs, requesting for search warrant from the officials; a ploy
later discovered to be a strategy to enable them evacuate the cold rooms
The atmosphere was charged to the extent that the bouncers were almost
engaging the NAFDAC officials in a brawl forcing the mobile police
officers to apply force and made some arrests which eventually made most
of them to retreat but access to the cold rooms and stores was not
However, a little drama ensued when the obstinate management of the
eatery invited other mobile police officers who were probably their
accomplice to the scene to scare NAFDAC officials who they felt were
acting illegally out of their premises, but the Superintendent of police
who led the NAFDAC police team ordered them out.
On realizing that the operation was not illegal after they have put
several calls across to some top shots in the society, the daughter of
the Chairman who also is the Deputy Group MD of AIM group, Mrs. Tatiana
Moussali Nouri was left with no choice than to cooperate.
She however asked the staff to also cooperate while she led the
officials round the premises opening stores and cold rooms which they
were able to evacuate as the melee was on, but the NAFDAC officials
could not be deceived based on the information already in their
In order to re-strategize, the NAFDAC officials took inventories of the
expired products discovered inside the freezers, kitchen and some bars
upstairs and urged them to signed, while every cold room in sight was
sealed to prevent the management access for more evacuation.
Pretending to have concluded inspection, they asked Chocolat Royal
management to report to NAFDAC office the next day and then stormed Mr
Moussalli’s Karimu Kotun resident where the first two 40ft secret
illegal cold rooms filled with fake, unregistered and expired food
products built on top of sewage were discovered.
On getting to the apartment however, the foreign national security
guards and other domestic staff, unleashed dogs on NAFDAC and refused to
open the main gate leading to the building against all entreaties.
This however forced NAFDAC official to put a call across to the Director
Investigation and Enforcement NAFDAC, Mr. Kingsley Ejiofor who
immediately stormed the scene.
The arrival of this all action NAFDAC Director spurred everyone to
action as he immediately ordered the officials to break the gate and
shoot the dogs if the security guards eventually refused to chain them.
When finally the gate was forced opened and the guards subdued, the
cooks voluntarily opened the two cold rooms where the entire products in
stock were discovered to have expired, many since 2004 with maggots’
found in some .
At the end of evacuation, two buses and two Hilux pick-up vans filled
with the fake and expired products worth over N500 million, all imported
were evacuated from the Karimu Ikotun resident of Mr. Moussali alone.
On Interrogation, the jittery cooks who identified themselves as John
Gbokasa and David from Benin Republic confirmed to NAFDAC officials that
the House belongs to Mr Moussali and that the fake, unregistered and
expired food products found inside the two cold rooms were for Chocolat
“I know that the products have expired, some, 2004, 2006, 2009, but I am
a cook and I take instruction from my boss,” David said.
“Anytime they need some products to prepare edibles at Chocolat Royal,
they come here with van and mine is to give them key to take whatever
they want and after they finish taken the items, they will return the
key to me,” John added.
They however begged the NAFDAC officials not to arrest them but wait
until their boss, Mr Moussalli who absconded and is still at large or
the wife who they said was out of the country return. NAFDAC however,
turn down their plea and arrested the two who during interrogation at
Apapa office of the Agency gave vital information to NAFDAC.
From there, the NAFDAC Director and the entire team stormed the Etim
Iyang Crescent headquarters of Chocolat Royal at about 6:15pm for the
second time with the aim to not only break the cold rooms but also
arrest Tatiana and the staff who had earlier wilfully obstructed NAFDAC
officials from performing their duty.
But except the overzealous Finance director, Mr Idowu Adebayo and one Mr
David who were not all that lucky others including Tatiana have all
taken to their heels on realizing that Moussalli’s resident has been
broken into and two illegal cold rooms discovered and evacuated.
NAFDAC officials however, were able to inspected only two cold rooms as
it was getting late already, except some few products purchased in our
local market, all the imported products inside the cold rooms have
The expired products which filled two Hilux pick-up vans worth about
N500 million were also evacuated and the entire building sealed.
Reacting to the incident after the operation, Ejiofor said that NAFDAC
had in their custody six persons in connection with the incident, adding
that they were arrested for intentionally obstructing NAFDAC officials
while on official duty.
“The suspects will be interrogated, while the food products will be
sampled and taken to the laboratory for analysis, where the labels and
contents will be properly analysed and at the end of the day when the
reports are out, that will determine the next line of action,” Ejiofor
The NAFDAC director, who commended the officers and the entire team for
the successful operation despite the intimidation from the staff of the
offending company, further said that the food and confectionary outlet
will continue to remain close to allow for proper investigation.
“They will be investigated by the Federal Taskforce on Fake and
Counterfeit Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods, and at the end of
investigation, files submitted will be reviewed and after evaluation, we
would send them to our legal department and we will be advised on what
to do by the legal and if we have enough facts, then we will now proceed
for prosecution,” he added.
But a twisted press statement meant to obfuscate the truth as well as,
deceive the members of the public, the management of Chocolat Royal, on
Wednesday, presented the invasion of its premises by NAFDAC as a normal
routine check, trivialising the incident as nothing serious.
Not only did they denied ever using the expired products discovered to
prepare consumables for their customers but stated that the expired food
products were discovered in their “cupboard”
Instead of admitting that it was the Chairman’s house located at Karimu
Kotun, VI that was invaded and expired food products discovered in large
quantity and evacuated, the statement said it was one of their
“The items found were never used in preparing food or confectionaries.
“As corporate citizens, we will work with NAFDAC to ensure that these
issues are promptly resolved and any breaches if any are remedied,” the
statement reads in part.
Meanwhile the Director General of NAFDAC, Mr Paul Orhii who arrived
Lagos from Abuja earlier Wednesday after inspecting the fake and expired
food products evacuated from Chocolat Royal, Thursday morning at NAFDAC
enforcement office Apapa, said that the matter will be thoroughly
investigated and the people involved prosecuted if found culpable.
“As you can see, these products are not even registered, not only are
they not registered, they have expired, some in 2004 and they are not
even written in English language, so they could not have been
“Not only that, you also noticed that the case is not only that the
products have expired, some about 11 years ago, but they attempted to
revalidate them, which is also a serious offence.
“They were caught in the process of using these expired products, so
after investigation we will begin the prosecution. Anybody can build a
cold room anywhere provided the place is not prohibited, but in this
case, I understand that there was a cold room on top of sewage; suck
away pit, of course you cannot use that kind of cold room to store
stocks that you are going to use for the production of food for the
members of the public, so that is an offence,” he said.
Ohii said that Chocolat Royal sealed outlet will remain close until
investigation is concluded adding that compliance with NAFDAC regulation
must be ensured first, before the issue of reopening of the outlet will
be discussed, but not anytime soon.
He however thanked the journalist for his courage and the investigation
which led to the operation urging the members of the public to provide
NAFDAC with any useful information that could help them in their
He noted that the Agency is making every effort to rid the Nigeria’s society of fake and substandard regulated products.
“We appreciate the role of the press in assisting us in our regulatory
activities and we will ensure that all matters relating to fake and
unregistered products are decisively dealt with and culprits brought to
justice,” Orhii added.
Investigation carried out has shown that minimum of 5000 Nigerians and
foreign nationals patronise the three Chocolat Royal outlets in 267A
Etim Iyang Crescent, VI, Shoprite and Lekki. When calculated, It simply
means that estimated 150,000 people are poisoned every month and
1.8million people every year.
In all it could be said that, Chocolat Royal has contributed to at least
10% of complicated health problems witnessed in Nigeria in the last 15
years based on the terrifying quantities of unregistered and expired
food products discovered and evacuated in their cold rooms and stores.
A medical practitioner, Dr Bassey Richard who spoke to our correspondent
on phone when asked to give insight on the health implication of
consuming expired food products, said that consumption of fake and
expired food products can cause food poisoning and very dangerous
especially to pregnant women and infants.
“Eating expired food products will likely lead to food poisoning. Food
poisoning consists of diarrhea and vomiting that can last for weeks,
lead to fever and in some extreme cases to death.
“When it has to do with foods prepared with fruits such as nuts, apples
and grapes, growth known as mycotoxins can occur, which can cause
itchiness, diarrhea, vomiting and dizziness. It is not advisable to eat
expired food products,” he said.
THIS BLOG IS OPERATED BY A GROUP OF NIGERIANS RESIDENT OUTSIDE NIGERIA SHARING A BALANCED, OBJECTIVE AND NON-PARTISAN POINT OF VIEW OF THINGS HAPPENING IN THE COUNTRY. THE MAIN OBJECTIVE IS TO SCOUT OUT THINGS AND OPINIONS OF OTHERS AROUND THE WORLD ON NIGERIA AND HER PEOPLE. IMPORTANT ARTICLES MAY BE TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH COMPLETELY OR SUMMARIZED
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