My Cola framed by disgruntled employee

– CAA discovers expired raw materials

– Warehouse sealed, fined Rs. 20,000

By Madhusha Thavapalakumar

An employee accused of fraud has framed beverage producer My Cola, leading to the company being penalised by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA), the company told The Sunday Morning Business.

According to My Cola Chief Executive Officer Sharm Fernando, the employee in question maliciously placed five cans of expired flavours alongside the fresh stocks in the production warehouse, before tipping off the CAA.

Prior to this incident, the employee, who had been working for the company for over a decade, was asked to show cause on 14 February for a shortage of stock, of which he was in charge.

“A day after (15) asking to show cause, this senior manager who was formerly in charge of our warehouses, had come and shifted five cans of expired raw materials to our production warehouse,” Fernando noted.

My Cola has two warehouses and one of them is being used to store raw materials which are expired and about to expire, while the second one is being used to store fresh stocks that will be used for production, according to Fernando.

In addition to shifting expired raw materials, the employee had gone ahead and tipped off the CAA about My Cola having expired raw materials in their production warehouse.

Following the tipoff received, CAA officials had visited the My Cola factory in Kadawatha on Monday (17) and inspected the production warehouse where they found five cans of expired raw materials near the door, far away from fresh stocks.

Fernando noted that even though the CAA learned that those expired raw materials were not being used for production, the warehouse was temporarily sealed for having expired raw materials in the production area. The CAA asked My Cola to show cause on Tuesday (18). Accordingly, a formal inquiry was held between My Cola management and the CAA where the CAA was given My Cola accounts and other relevant details.

On Thursday (20), My Cola was imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 for having expired stocks inside the production area and a further Rs. 10,000 for not having labels on those expired cans.

In addition to this, My Cola has also found that this employee in question, using his office email ID, had sent the list of expired stocks in the factory to a third party, on Monday (17) evening, which itself is a violation, Fernando stated. Further, My Cola learnt that this employee was getting real-time information from another worker, who the company suspects to be another employee brought in by this particular employee.

Fernando noted that they have initiated inquiries to terminate the employee.

“Him sharing internal details with a third party is itself enough to terminate him. We are also checking the CCTV footages. But unfortunately, the warehouse area did not have a CCTV camera as wiring for a new CCTV system was going on. Only few places had CCTV cameras and we are checking them,” Fernando added.

According to My Cola, this is the first time in six years that the company has been fined by the CAA as six years ago; it was fined for a minor offence. However, Fernando assured that neither the CAA nor My Cola had received any complaints from consumers so far.

Pet Packaging, the parent company of My Cola beverages, started its operations in 1994. The company now has a market share of over 5% and markets two brands of water along with My Cola beverages.