Security sources in Monrovia, Margibi, and Nimba counties have disclosed that some foreign businesses operating in the country are taking advantage of the market by dumping expired chicken products and smuggled 10% Beer on the Liberian market for public consumption.
On 16 December 2020 at about 8:37 PM, security officers in Parker Paint Community, Paynesville arrested a truck loaded with expired 10% drinks.
Information gathered indicates the truck with red and white colors and license plate # LBC – 51160 bearing the service name 100% Liberian, was intercepted while trying to dump the product at the warehouse of a private businessman only identified as Yan.
Mr. Yan, said to be dealer of flour products, allegedly owns the expired drinks, even though the sole importer of the expired 10% Beer is AFROPA situated in Sayon Town, Bushrod Island.
Speaking to reporters following the arrest of the truck, an agent of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) who begged for anonymity, since he is not the official spokesperson of the ministry, disclosed that based on intelligence gathered, he and other officers posted themselves around the Parker Paint area to ensure the truck conveying the expired drinks is arrested.
The security source explained the truck was than spotted with the description, license plate and colors mentioned thus, it was intercepted at the Parker Paint and Redlight intersection. The source continued that upon inspection, they discovered a large quantity of 10% drinks onboard the truck.
Minutes later, a Liberian businessman and dealer of flours only identified as Mr. Yan arrived at the scene of the arrested truck and confirmed the drinks belongs to him.
The source said security officers advised Mr. Yan not to off-load the expired drinks until he can disclose where he got the drinks from but the businessman refused, allegedly. According to our source, the 10% Beer was allegedly smuggled to Liberia from the Ivory Coast through Maryland County.
He said there and then, confusion ensued between the businessman and the arresting officers, which led to confiscating the truck keys from the operator, compelling the truck to remain to where it was arrested.
The officer narrated that thereafter they decided to leave one of their colleagues at the scene of the arrested truck to be able to get reinforcement to transfer the truck to a nearby LNP depot.
But, he notes, that upon their return at the Parker Paint locality where the truck was parked, they did not see the truck and their colleague there.When they call the telephone of their colleague his cell-phone was either switched off or out of coverage area.
When the owner of the consignment Mr. Yan was contacted on the matter, he declined to speak to the press, while at AFROPA in Seyon Town, this paper was informed that the General Manager, who should speak on the issue, was not available.
In a related development, the Paynesville, Kakata, and Ganta general markets respectively are said to be flooded with expired chicken products reportedly distributed by Fresh Frozen Food in Monrovia.
Information obtained indicates that a cartoon of the chicken which expired in October 2020, is being sold to customers for LRD1, 950 instead of the original price of LRD2, 250.00.
The expired chicken products are being transferred from the FFF branch #1 in Paynesville to Kakata and Ganta the company management for sale to the general public.
This is not the first time FFF has dumped expired frozen products on the Liberian market.
The company was arrested with huge expired chickens and drinks by agents of the Ministries of Commerce and Health.
The Government of Liberia, through the FFF management had to use several trucks to take the expired products from its storage facilities for disposal site outside Monrovia. Government at the time also fined the company and warned it to desist from such bad business practices, but the warning seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
Information on the expired chicken cartoons indicates the product expired since 10th October 2020. Also, another chicken product known as ‘soft bone’ also brought into the country by FFF, are being sold to the public.
By Emmanuel Mondaye–Editing by Jonathan Browne