The House of Representatives is set to commence investigation into allegations of unlawful waiver obtained by a private firm, Alta Semper Capital, to co-own a popular retail pharmacy, Health Plus, in Nigeria.
The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia) made this known while addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the decision by the house to investigate the matter followed a petition by one Mr Oladimeji Ekengba, challenging the waiver allegedly granted by Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).
According to him, the petitioner argued that according to Section 2(2) of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Act, P.17, 2004 (PCN Act) a retail pharmacy can only be wholly owned by a registered pharmacist or in partnership with other registered pharmacists.
Kalu said the petitioner further stated that the letter of ‘No Objection’ allegedly issued to Alter Semper as a waiver by PCN was illegal.
“The Committee on Public Petitions has been mandated by the house to investigate this issue.
“The management of Health Plus, Alter Semper Capital, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria and every other person who has played a role in the issue will soon be invited to the house.
“As you are aware, the PCN Act established the PCN, a body charged with responsibility for regulating the practice of the pharmacy profession in Nigeria.
“It is also charged with the responsibility for maintaining a register of qualified pharmacists and pharmaceutical businesses.
“The combined provisions of the PCN Act and the PCN Regulations stipulate that a retail pharmacy can only be owned by a registered pharmacist or in partnership with other registered pharmacists.
“So it was shocking to learn that by a letter dated Oct. 30, 2017, the PCN Registrar granted a waiver to an equity investment relationship between Health Plus Limited and Alta Semper Capital (a.k.a. Idi Holdings) in March 2018,” he said.
Kalu said the house would ensure things returned to status quo after its investigations.
He said while Nigeria was open to foreign direct investment, private equity companies must come through the front door and not the back door.
Kalu expressed confidence that the house would do justice to the concerns raised by the petitioner to ensure the health and safety of Nigerians were safeguarded.