The Commerce Ministry and the National Port Authority (NPA) have denied media reports of an alleged 25,000 metric tons of Chinese intoxicated butter rice in Liberia.
The media including this paper has reported this week that a vessel named MV ALCMENE containing 25,000 metric tons of contaminated or rotten rice had docked at the Freeport of Monrovia.
In the report, it is alleged that the APM Terminal which has taken over the Freeport of Monrovia since February 1, had subsequently ordered the owner of the vessel to go to Buchanan Port to offload it, on grounds that there were discovery of toxic waste particles cadmium.
In a hastily arranged joint press conference, the NPA Managing Director in the presence of the Commerce Minister Miatta Beysolow claimed that the APM Terminal had of late directed the MV ALCMENE Vessel to the Buchanan Port because the vessel was too big to have docked at the Port of Monrovia.
She further told the news conference that another reason of diverting the vessel out Freeport here is that the Buchanan Port is larger in size (14.9 meter large) and deeper than the Freeport of Monrovia.
For her part, Commerce Minister Miatta Beysolow said the contaminated claim is not to the knowledge of the government. But she said they will order the Environment Protection Agency or EPA to lunch a thorough investigation into the rotten butter rice claims.
She said while investigation goes on, government will put state order on the alleged toxic rice, meaning that it won’t be sold to consumers until it is established that it’s worthy for human consumption.
Madam Beysolow furthered that government’s stance that the alleged contaminated rice will be tested here and abroad and if contaminated as reported, it won’t be sold here.