Liberia: Police Questions Monrovia Group of Industries Over 'Hijacked' Container Claims

The management of Monrovia Group of Industries (MGI) Liberia, a Lebanese owned business, is being summoned for questioning in connection with an ongoing investigation into alleged 'surreptitious' entry of a container No. AXIU476111 destined for Conakry, the Republic of Guinea, to Agid Sariu Siege Social Madina Dispenser but found its way to Liberia.

MGI has reportedly admitted upon appearing before officers of the Special Investigation Unit of the Liberia National Police (LNP) that the container was shipped to Liberia by CMA CGM carrier located at the Freeport of Monrovia.

Meanwhile, the Guinean Government has expressed interest in the ongoing investigation through constant telephone conversation through its Embassy near Monrovia, with the investigators, a police source has confided in the Daily Observer.

Documents in the possession of the Daily Observer show that the container was loaded on February 28, 2020, and left Turkey on March 1, 2020, with Conakry, Guinea as its final destination.

Supporting their admittance, the Lebanese owned company presented a receipt said to be the payment made through bank transfer to ING Bank, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, to an Iranian born Turkish national, Reza Akhavein, on March 30, 2020.

Akhavein is the owner of a company named 'Gida Katki MADD San Ve Tic, Ltd. STI' that is behind the diversion of the container from Conakry, Guinea to MGI in Liberia, which accusation the company through written communication to the investigation team did not deny.

CMA CGM also admitted that they declared the container and its contents with the bill of lading of ISB0456992 that was supplied to MGI by Akhavein dated March 30, 2020.

A representative of Agid Sariu Siege Social Madina Dispenser had early complained to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) that container No. AXIU476111 which came through CMA CGM carrier to the Free Port of Monrovia has been paid for and destined for Conakry, Guinea, with a bill of lading and commercial invoice dated March 20, 2020, just ten (10) days after Akhavein issued the same bill of lading and commercial invoice to MGI-Liberia.

"The container and its contents belong to our company in Guinea, but the same was diverted to Liberia of which we request an immediate investigation," the Agid Sariu representative in Liberia alleges.

No specific charges have been filed against any of the parties by the investigation.

But eventually when it left the Ambaru Port E. Side in Istanbul, Turkey, the destination changed to Liberia immediately after MGI-Liberia made the transfer to ING Bank in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, to Akhavein who had left Turkey for The Netherlands.

Though there is an agreement between Akhavein and Agid Sariu Guinea to have the container shipped to the company in Conakry, Guinea after paying over US$4,000 as shipment cost to Akhavein in Istanbul, Turkey, Akhavein later changed his plan and collected an unspecified amount of money to divert the container and contents to MIG-Liberia.

Justifying his action, Akhavein in a letter to the investigation alleged that it was for payment and business disagreement problems with Agid Co, and therefore he decided to change the discharge point of the container to Liberia to protect their companies finance rights.

A communication dated May 26, 2020 was addressed to the Chief Investigator, Raffell Wilson.

The letter reads, "I would to declare and inform you about container No.AxIU1476111 which has been shipped from Istanbul, Turkey to AGID Co, in Guinea, Conakry, on February 28, 2020 by our company."

"Unfortunately," the communication continues, "for payment and business disagreement problems with AGID Co, we decide to change the discharge point of goods to another place to protect our companies finance rights."

It adds, "Monrovia Group of Industries is our project customer in Liberia that is going to produce (instant powder juice, coffee and related) by our support."

It says "MGI admit to buy these goods for current project. Also, they paid us by bank transfer to ING Bank in Rotterdam, The Netherlands."

According to the letter, "Legal shipper is our company and real legal customer which must receive the goods is MGI. The goods in container are food additives and food ingredients and must not be under heat long time at the port or container especially in Africa climate."

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