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Fact-checking claims on ‘fake and genuine’ Malta Guinness cans, rumoured police invasion of Lagos factory

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Claim: Viral photos depict variations of Malta Guinness’ non-alcoholic drink pack, alleging one is fake, and a police invasion of an illegal Guinness factory at the Trade Fair in Lagos State. 

Fact-checking claims on ‘fake and genuine’ Malta Guinness cans, rumoured police invasion of Lagos factory

Verdict: Misleading! The pictures being recirculated are from 2018. Also, the company in question addressed the issue of the difference in the can designs in a 2017 press release and a recent statement. 

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In the past few days, the Nigerian social media space has been awash with reports of fake fast-moving consumer goods flooding markets across the country. DUBAWA came across these posts on X (Twitter) and Facebook, as seen here, here and here. Some social media users have expressed their confusion over which cans are genuine and which are fake so as not to fall victim to counterfeit products.

While many Nigerians criticised the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) over its failure to stop the influx of these fake products, others have made posts explaining the differences between the original and perceived counterfeit products. 

An allegation that stood out was the one regarding the production of fake Malta Guinness non-alcoholic drinks in the market. A similar post reads, “See what you have been drinking. They buy a truck of Malta Guinness from Guinness. In a pack of 24, they remove 12 and replace it with 12 fake cans of the ones they produced. The originals are the ones on the outer side of the pack, while the fake ones are in between. Heard it’s peculiar around trade fair in Lagos.” 

Ghana Web also reported similar news recently, adding that a police invasion of a fake factory producing Malta Guinness in the Trade Fair area of Lagos state occurred. 

The report shared that fake drink producers buy a truck of Malta Guinness non-alcoholic drink and replace a portion of the glasses with the one produced illegally, after which they start reselling to unsuspecting consumers. 

They also shared images of police officers invading a fake Malta Guinness factory and a photo showing two drink cans with different designs. 

Considering Nigerians’ growing concerns and the fact that it’s the yuletide where families celebrate with drinks and food, DUBAWA decided to verify the allegation about the fake Malta Guinness cans.

Verification

A Reverse Image Search Result showed that the images attached to the claims of police invasion of a fake malt factory in the Egbe-Afa, Igbobo area of Ikorodu, Lagos state, happened as far back as 2018. Therefore, it is not recent.

The Lagos police command at the time explained that the factory produced fake stout and ethanol, which were later transported elsewhere to be bottled and sold. 

According to reports, the illegal brewery had over 1,000 drums of brewed malt and up to 100 tanks where the drinks were pumped before supplying tankers.

On the claims of two different cans in the market, DUBAWA performed a keyword search on Malta Guinness’ social media pages to see if the issue had once been addressed. The investigation led to a 2017 press release from the company that explained that the two cans are genuine and are products of Diageo Limited, the parent company of Guinness Nigeria Limited. 

According to the release, one of the cans was produced in Nigeria, and a Diageo-licensed brewer in Togo brewed the other.

Fact-checking claims on ‘fake and genuine’ Malta Guinness cans, rumoured police invasion of Lagos factory
The press statement was released by Guinness Nigeria in 2017.

DUBAWA further contacted the company (Malta Guinness) to comment on the recent allegation of a counterfeit variation of their product. We asked if there is an ongoing investigation, but they have yet to respond as of the time of this report. 

However, DUBAWA consequently observed that Malta Guinness issued a press statement on Dec 19, 2023. In the report, the firm urged the public to ignore the posts regarding fake Malta Guinness drinks in circulation. The company said the two packages were genuine but no longer used. Below is a screenshot of the statement.

Fact-checking claims on ‘fake and genuine’ Malta Guinness cans, rumoured police invasion of Lagos factory
Post from Malta Guiness’ Facebook page on Dec 19.

The parent company, Guinness Nigeria Plc, also issued a similar press statement on Dec 19, explaining that the two can designs in the image were genuine but no longer in use as the company had rebranded the can designs. It also encouraged users to be wary of false information about fake Malta Guinness drinks in circulation, describing them as the handiwork of fake news purveyors. 

“For clarity, both Malta Guinness packaging shown in the viral posts are old packaging that is no longer in circulation,” the press release read in part. 

Conclusion

The images shared widely on social media do not depict a recent invasion of an illegal brewery in Lagos. Also, the two can designs of Malta Guinness non-alcoholic drink shared on social media are genuine, according to a press statement from the company.  

However, it is unclear if any illegal brewery recently existed at the Trade Fair in Lagos state. 

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