Commerce Ministry Quarantines Illegal Liquor Processing Facility

Deputy Min. Wisner displays two bottles of products
Deputy Min. Wisner displays two bottles of products
Photo Credit: Public Affairs

Saturday, August 24, 2019: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry 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 (nine hundred) cartons of illegally processed alcoholic beverages were discovered in a warehouse in the Vai Town area.

The over nine hundred cartons contained variety of the alcoholic beverages said to be harmful, including E- Roberts Dry Gin, Legacy Bitters and duplicated Mandingo Bitters.

At the same time, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry removed and subsequently transferred over 13 55gallons barrels of ethanol to  the National Standards Laboratory  at the Public Works Ministry yard in Monrovia for testing.

A Commerce Ministry 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 and dumps them into drums by adding 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 rather part of efforts to ensure a conducive business sector through  compliance and fair business practices that are in conformity with international best practices.

Jacob N.B. Parley
Communications Director