Barely two weeks after being fined for being in possession of expired food products and potentially endangering the lives of Liberians, the Abi Jaoudi group of companies has again been slapped with yet another fine, this time by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The fine, which is said to be about US$3,000, was imposed in the wake of the company’s refusal to adhere to the EPA’s Stop Order, to halt ongoing construction activities near the Catholic Hospital Junction. The EPA charged that the Abi Jaoudi and Azar Trading Company’s construction activities in that vicinity was in violation of the Environmental Protection and Management Law (EPML) part III Section 6 (count 1 &2) of the Republic of Liberia.
EPA Executive Director, Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr., has mandated the Abi Jaoudi and Azar Corporation to pay the fine into Government revenue at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), with an official receipt presented to the EPA within the next 72 hours.
He further instructed the company to halt all activities on the site, until further notice of authorization is presented to the company by the Agency.
Blama further added that failure by the company to comply with Notice of Violation issued March 27,2018, will lead to drastic penalties, which include but are not limited to: additional fines, closure, imprisonment and/or criminal prosecution where applicable.
He also called all companies operating within the country to comply with the Environmental Protection Management Law, in order to avoid future embarrassment.
Meanwhile, an official of the Abi Jaoudi and Azar Trading company, Mr. George Abi Jaoudi, in response to queries from the Daily Observer has said in a text message that he is currently out of the country. However, he referred this newspaper to one Winnie, who is apparently an employee of the company. But Mr. Winnie has not since responded to calls placed by the Daily Observer.
It can be recalled that a roughly two weeks ago, a US$75,000 fine was imposed on the Abi Jaoudi Supermarket, after it was found to be in possession of expired meat and frozen food, as well as other products, on the Liberian market. The Supermarket was accused of violating the General Business Law and Public Health Law of Liberia. Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh disclosed at a press conference that the business entity admitted to the act.
Tarpeh said the time for chaos and disorder in the country’s commerce and trade industry is over. “The time when business owners would assault government officials for doing their jobs, and then go with impunity is also over,” he said.