Liberia: EPA Fines Monrovia Breweries U.S.$5k Over Refusal to Allow 'Unexpected' Inspectors Entry

Monrovia — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined the Monrovia Club Breweries US$5,000 after security at the company's premises denied inspectors from the EPA entry.

According to the EPA, the inspectors had gone to follow up on the company's implementation of recommendation proffered by the agency during its April 10, 2019 audit verification visit to the company. In 2019, the EPA technicians conducted an assessment and recommended, among others, that MBI obtain an effluent discharge permit and technical registration and importation license for chemicals imported.

The EPA says its decision to fine the alcoholic beverage producing company is due to its violation of Chapter IX Section 95 of the Environmental Protection Management Law of Liberia.

But the Monrovia Breweries informed FrontPageAfrica that they were not aware of the EPA's visit to their premises. Sources within the company also informed FPA that the company is consulting its lawyers and challenging the fine is a top option.

"MBI complies with any regulation and policy instituted by the Government of Liberia. We are committed to working with any government institution when required. We will contact EPA," the company informed FrontPageAfrica.

Another source at the company said: "The security refused them entry, they made no further effort to contact the management of Monrovia Breweries on the matter. Our management was never written concerning this matter neither were we invited for a conference. We remain law-abiding but we also believe in circumstances like this, there should be due diligence."

The EPA acting head told journalists that the inspectorate team led by the chief inspector of Montserrado County Stephen S. Gongehn were denied access to MBI's facility with the chief of security on duty holding firm that MBI management had instructed that the EPA should serve prior notice before being allowed to inspect the facility.

"The EPA takes serious exception to this non-compliant posture and has decided to send a strong warning to other would-be offenders that the agency is serious about its mandate of safeguarding the environment."

In his argument, the EPA acting head claimed that denying Inspector to the BMI facility is a violation of Part IX section 95 of the Environmental protection and Management law of Liberia and an affront to section 8.0 of the company operation permit which gives inspectors the right to unhindered access to the facility at any given time for the purpose of compliance to the provision of the law.

"Subsection 3 of section 95 of the EMPL states that anyone who interferes with the inspector's duties commits an offence and is liable on a conviction of a fine not exceeding 5000USD or imprisonment for one year or both.

"On this basis and after careful review of the situation in keeping with the spirit to ensure sustainable environmental protection, the management of Monrovia Breweries incorporated is hereby fined the amount of five thousand United States Dollars (5,000USD) to be paid, within 72 hours of receipt of this communication, in Government revenue through the EPA. Failure to comply with this notice of violation may lead to the cancellation of your operation permit."

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