Liberia: Commerce Not At War With Ureys

-Acting Minister Sets Records Straight

The Deputy Minister for Commerce and Trade Services at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, A.E. Nyema Wisner, has strongly rejected speculations that the recent closure of Fuzion Bar and Restaurant in Sinkor, Monrovia was an attempt to get at the Urey Family.

Contrary to the wide social media speculations, Mr. Wisner said, Fuzion Bar and Restaurant was shut down by the Commerce Ministry's Inspectorate for refusing entry to a team from the Ministry that was undertaking an inspection of business entities in Monrovia.

The Acting Commerce Minister noted that when it comes to executing its statutory mandate, including the inspection of business entities throughout Liberia, the Ministry does not see anybody as being above the law and vowed that the Commerce Ministry will remain vigilant in doing its work.

Mr. Wisner, addressing a press conference at the Commerce Ministry on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, called on Liberians to desist from politicizing the work of the Commerce Ministry, particularly the ongoing inspection.

He also admonished the public to realize that the Commerce Ministry is not at war with the Urey Family, but simply trying to enforce its statutory mandate, regarding a conducive business climate for Liberia through practices that meet international best practices.

He said the US$3,000 (three thousand United States Dollars) fine imposed on Fuzion Bar and Restaurant was not illegal, but strictly in accordance with the law.

A Commerce Ministry release quotes Mr. Wisner as saying that fines are levied by the Ministry on the basis of business category.

The release named the various categories as US $200.00 for small businesses, US $700.00 for medium entities and US $3,000.00 for big ones.

"We imposed the fine since September 4, 2019 and even gave a 72-hour ultimatum for them to comply," the Acting Commerce Minister added.

He said the Commerce Ministry re-opened the business after the 24-hour time the law allows the Ministry to keep a business shut down for had expired and that the legal team from Fuzion Bar and Restaurant made an appeal to the Ministry for some reduction in the imposed fine.

It can be recalled that Inspectors from the Ministry, led by Commerce Inspector General, Josephine Davies, were prevented from entering Fuzion Bar and Restaurant on August 28, 2019 while undertaking a nationwide inspection of business houses across Monrovia.

"During the same exercise," Wisner added, "the Commerce Ministry inspected other businesses within the same vicinity, including Royal Grand Hotel, Boulevard Hotel and Sajj House, an indication the Third Quarterly Inspection was not directed at Fuzion Bar and Restaurant or members of the Urey family, as is widely insinuated on the social media.

"The ongoing inspection was preceded by a week-long public service announcement in August 2019, outlining details of the exercise, including protection of consumers and continuous compliance with standard regulations, amongst others," he concluded.

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