A Liberian businessman John Gbedze is the latest victim of what appears to be a smear campaign following an unannounced Hollywood style inspection carried out few days ago by Liberia’s Inspector General of Commerce Josephine Davies at his son’s company, E. Roberts’ Distilleries.
E. Roberts’ Distilleries, runs by Mr. Cyrus S. Morgan, is own by John W. Gbedze Jr., not the father John W. Gbedze Sr., who owns and operates Gbedze Beach and other hotels in the country, as is being speculated on social media and other liquor joints.
The case in question is that Commerce officials carried out an inspection at the E. Roberts’ Distilleries few days ago on grounds that the company did not obtain permit to produce the various brands of alcoholic beverages under the brand name Legacy drinks and E. Roberts’ drinks.
According to documents in the possession of this paper, the company did registered as a business to produce the afford mentioned drinks and other drinks under the Legacy Brand following a fallout with its parent company in Ghana, who gave the initial authorization.
Therefore upon registration Mr. Morgan, who manages the business, was asked to submit his products for testing at the National Standard Laboratory situated at the Ministry of Public Works and further testing by health officials.
The company submitted its samples for testing on July 4, 2019 and on July 12, 2019, the National Standard Board issued E. Roberts’ Distilleries a certificate qualifying its drinks.
What did John Gbedze and his company E. Roberts’ Distilleries do wrong?
Upon receipt of the Standard Board Certificate that its products had passed the quality test, the company did not go back to the Ministry of Commerce to present these test results to obtain their permit to begin full scale operation, something which may have prompted the Hollywood style inspection of Commerce Inspector General Davies.
Secondly, the company as at the time of registration used it future home address at Marshall Junction in Margibi County, which is current under construction, while it used the Gbedze multipurpose resort for its temporary production site.
What Happened when the Commerce team arrived at the Company’s temporary site at Gbedze resort on SKD Boulevard?
The entire inspection began at the behest of some Ghanaians who had informed Commerce Ministry officials here that there is a local company which is reproducing their drinks and they had come to seek those behind the production.
On the first day of the team’s arrival with the visiting Ghanaian, it was established that the company is dully registered under that laws of Liberia and that it was a legitimate business.
However, on the second day after the previous visit, according to the Commerce Ministry Public Relations Director Mr. Jacob Parley, the commerce team visited the site and quarantined the temporary offices of the E. Roberts’ Distilleries on grounds that the environment on unsanitary.
The Commerce Inspector on this second visit took along journalists and Face bookers as is reminiscence of this government and confiscated the ethanol-an alcohol that is used to prepared alcoholic beverages for further testing.
The Hollywood style inspection by Ms. Davies scared off staff at the company production site and allowed Ms. Davies and her crew mixed with social media savvies to start posting not only misinformation about the entire story but also drawing in Mr. GbedzeSnr.
What are the other allegations?
The company had been accused of buying drinks brew in Ghana, shipping them to Liberia and mixing with water to be sold on the local market, a claim the management has denied and question while would it import a drink sold at US40,00 per carton and bring it here just to rebottle it and sell it for USD30.00 considering shipping and clearing fees.
Another allegation is that the company is mixing concoction and selling same to Liberians. Meanwhile a simple chemistry will show that in order to produce an alcoholic beverage it requires ethanol, water and the flavor that is being used to produce that particular brand.The company said, its products are freed of any contamination because they have been tested by the National Standard Board of Liberia and considered to be safe for consumption.