Tuesday: September 17, 2019: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry says its decision to close down Fuzion Bar and Restaurant in Sinkor, Monrovia was straightly in the right direction and not any political witch-haunt as widely speculated on the social media.
As part of its ongoing Third Quarterly Nationwide Inspection of business houses across Liberia, the Commerce Ministry, On Monday, September 16, 2019, shut down Fuzion Bar and Restaurant for its refusal to allow the Inspectorate of the Ministry carry out its work.
Though the MOCI, re-opened the Fuzion Bar and Restaurant on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 following an appeal from the legal team of the business, the closure of the facility was greeted with wide spread social media reports, alleging that the Ministry’s action was a political witch-haunt.
However, addressing a press conference Tuesday, September 17, 2019, Acting Commerce Minister, A.E. Nyema Wisner, said the fine of US$3,000.00 (three thousand United States Dollars) imposed on Fuzion Bar and Restaurant was not illegal, but straightly 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 August 28, 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.
The Deputy Minister for Commerce and Trade Services called on Liberians to desist from politicizing the Ministry’s work, especially the ongoing inspection.
Mr. Wisner 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.
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, 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 widely insinuated.
“We have taken similar action against other business entities and they complied with the regulation,” Mr. Wisner observed.
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.