The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has discovered and subsequently quarantined an illegal business that has been operating at a local privately-owned residence along the Samuel Kanyan Doe Boulevard in Paynesville.
During the inspection, executed by the Commerce Ministry’s Inspectorate along with the Liberia National Police, over 900 cartons of illegally processed alcoholic beverages were found in a warehouse in the Vai Town area.
The cartons contained variety of the alcoholic beverages said to be harmful, including E- Roberts Dry Gin, Legacy Bitters and duplicated Mandingo Bitters, according to a Commerce Ministry release.
At the same time, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry removed and subsequently transferred over thirteen 55-gallon barrels of ethanol to the National Standards Laboratory at the Public Works Ministry yard in Monrovia for testing.
The release says though the business is a registered entity, there are no available records to show its importation information.
Moreover, the quarantined illegal processing facility does not meet distillery requirements.
The illegal production of the materials has allegedly been going on in Liberia for close to 10 months and that the place is owned by a Liberian, whose identify is still being determined.
The Ministry, during the exercise, expressed shock over what it described as “complete deception” for such facility to be used as a distillery without a processing plant.
According to the release, there was no indication of the bottles used being rinsed before re-filling, while an unclean piece of plank was being used to stir the materials during distillery.
Sources told the Commerce Ministry that the owner of the illegal distillery usually purchases the real Mandingo Bitters and the other items on the local market, dumps them into drums and adds more water to increase the volume of liquid before re-cycling them for the market.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry says its ongoing inspection is not intended to get at any business entity, as reported by a local daily, but is rather part of efforts to ensure a conducive business sector through compliance and fair business practices that are in conformity with international best practices.