The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has warned the business community and investors in the country to observe good practices in their business dealings with the people.
Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh said while the Liberian government will continue to encourage business and foreign as well as local investments, it will not accept any attempt to defraud the Liberian people.
“This government is committed to protecting businesses, as long as they continue to operate within the relevant laws and regulations. This government will not accept attempts to deliberately or otherwise exploit the businesses to the detriment of the Liberian people who overwhelmingly elected the pro-poor agenda of this government,” Minister Tarpeh said.
Speaking to journalists last week after he imposed a fine of US$75,000 on Abi Jaoudi Supermarket and Azar Trading Company for violating section 26.2 of the Public Health Law, he said the time for the indiscriminate price-hiking of essential commodities, the sale of substandard food and non-food items and expired goods is over.
He said the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will ensure that affordable and quality products are brought into the country for the Liberian people and therefore stated that while the CDC-led government stands ready to support and encourage the private sector investment, it will not accept any attempt by any business to conduct itself in an evil, unlawful and inappropriate manner that will threaten the health of the Liberian people.
It may be recalled that the Ministry of Commerce & Industry last week imposed a fine of US$75,000 on Abi Jaoudi Supermarket and Azar Trading Company to be paid in seventy two hours to the government’s revenue, when a tip led to the discovery of expired goods being transported from the company’s warehouse to another warehouse.
The action is said to have violated Section 1.12 of the General Business Law of Liberia and Section 26.2 of the Public Health Law of Liberia.
Minister Tarpeh said the government would remain engaged with the business community for the welfare of the Liberian and other residents.
Meanwhile, in a statement Abi Jaoudi Supermarket and Azar Trading Company said the expired goods in question were not in the sales area but rather in the warehouse and onboard a truck destined for its Bushrod Island warehouse.
The statement admitted that “ABJ has on sales goods which descriptions are written in foreign languages,” but stated that “they are not consumables and are mostly floor and toilet bowl cleaners liquids, which are not used on the human body or taken in.”
Meanwhile, the expired products were confiscated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to be disposed of by a team comprising of representatives of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture.