The Federal High Court in Lagos State has rejected the no case submission by Dr. Anuoluwapo Funmilayo Adepoju and Med Contour.
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) dragged her to court after a complaint of post-body surgery complications.
Anu’s defence team had argued that the prosecution did not make a sufficient answerable prima facie case.
On Thursday, the court ruled that the evidence so far tendered satisfied the elements of the criminal charges pending against the defendant.
The court adjourned the case to May 26, 2022 for continuation of trial.
Babatunde Irukera, the Lead Prosecutor said although the process has experienced delays, the commission remains committed to ensuring compliance to the fullest extent of the law.
The FCCPC chief said now that sitting has resumed, relevant applications seeking appropriate judicial orders will be presented.
Irukera called for information or evidence of activities that can assist in ensuring obedience of the law or retribution for disobedience.
Babatunde Irukera, EVC, FCCPC; reaction:
Reform is in the making. It may be slow, even tedious, but one day at a time, the landscape for accountability in the marketplace is changing.
I am particularly happy today because of two decisions that emanated from the State and Federal High Court. One from the Enugu state High Court, and the other from the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court. Both decisions somewhat address impunity. Impunity in how some do business, and impunity in how some respect the regulator and regulatory process. Somehow, we are succeeding as a nation in strengthening the institution for protecting consumers, and deepening the concept of respecting the rights of consumers.
In the first case: Chukwuma v. Peace Mass Transit Limited, the Court decided and held that the principle of return or refund is statutory, applicable and enforceable. The case invalidated and declared the defendant’s policy of not refunding money received for unprovided service illegal, and affirmed consumers’ right to cancel advance reservations or bookings, at best or worst, less reasonable administrative charges. The court construed Sections 104,120, and 129 of the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act 2018, (FCCPA). This is a landmark decision and watershed because there is now both statutory and judicial authority regarding this rather vexed matter of a practice of not making refunds to consumers.
In the second case, Justice Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos in FRN v. Anuoluwapo Adepoju dismissed a No Case Submission and declared that Dr. Anu Adepoju and Med-Contour must open a defence and be held answerable under criminal charges that a failure to comply with FCCPC summons to appear or produce evidence under the FCCPA constitutes sufficient bases to be held criminally accountable.
I am excited about these 2 decisions because, the current season is one where consumers are pressed hard from all sides; and these decisions by competent courts balance conduct of producers and providers to prevent impunity (which both cases actually underscore).
When considered with the traffic of digital money lenders approaching the FCCPC to enter into a framework of cooperation and compliance in exchange for benefit under Cooperation & Assistance Rules, I am encouraged that its been a good week for the future of consumer rights, and behavioural modification by businesses in a manner that redounds to value for consumers.
To the consumer in Enugu who was bold and insistent enough to commence, and push through, on behalf of the FCCPC, I say thank you; and to the prosecution and investigation team at FCCPC that still stays the course, even when the process is stalled, I say well done!