The Environmental Protection Agency in Liberia or EPA says it is unaware of recent media reports regarding alleged arrival of 25,000 metric tons of intoxicated or rotten Chinese Butter rice in the country on board the MV ALCMENE Vessel.
Speaking via mobile phone to our reporter Thursday, the Press and Public Affairs Director at the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Segrent Goma said the EPA has not received any official communication or document from the Commerce Ministry on the rotten rice allegation.
Segrent Goma termed as rumors the issue of rotten rice, because as part of inter-ministerial policy, they must be given an official communication by whatever ministry involved with these claims before addressing such matter.
Upon the publication of the alleged arrival of 25,000 metric tons of intoxicated or rotten Chinese Butter rice in Liberia on the MV ALCMENE Vessel by this paper including few others on Thursday February 17, 2011, the Commerce Minister Miatta Baysolow and the Managing Director of the National Port Authority or NPA, Matilda Parker hastily addressed a news conference to deny the report.
It was reported in this paper that the MV ALCMENE Vessel was said to have docked at the Free Port of Monrovia, but APM Terminal had allegedly asked the vessel owner to go to the Port of Buchanan to be offloaded.
The Vessel containing the alleged 25,000 metric tons of rotten rice was said to have been diverted to the Buchanan Port due to the discovery of toxic waste particles cadmium. But The Commerce Minister at the news conference said government along with the Environmental Protection Agency would have ensured that the alleged rotten rice on the MV ALCMEN Vessel be investigated.
Madam Beysolow at the conference furthered assured government’s stance that the rice be tested in Liberia and abroad and if proven intoxicated, would not be sold to consumers here. She again said, state order would have been placed on the rice as government look into the matter.
Efforts by our reporter to find out whether government has lunched its investigation and who are those investigating the rotten rice issue or whether the state order has been placed on the rice since the EPA says it hasn’t gotten any official communication from commerce did not succeed.
The press and public affairs department at the commerce Ministry on Wednesday told our reporter that they were not prepared to comment, and that he should return at the ministry within an hour. But upon his arrival a little later than an hour the press and public affairs director was absent. However, one of the staffers on Thursday said the public affairs director would rather comment on next week Monday when he shall have returned from a workshop.
Meanwhile, the French News Agency AFP on Wednesday February 16, 2011, reported that a huge quantity of the Chinese rice was contaminated years ago by metals such as the cadmium. But according to the AFP, Chinese Authorities had failed to comment to alert on the danger that could cause to the consumers.