According to a writ from the Monrovia City Court signed by the Stipendiary Magistrate, the Ministry of Commerce filed a complaint against Nice Ice Cream for violation of Section 4.11 of the Investment Code and General Business Law of Liberia.
Addressing journalists following the closure, Mitchell Jones, Director of Press and Public Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce mentioned that the action is intended to ensure full adherence to the Liberianization policy.
Jones mentioned the Nice Ice Cream has violated the investment code which prohibits them as non-Liberians to engage in the production and sale of ice cream in Liberia.
“They have manipulated the process and did not go physically to do the registration process because ice cream and 16 other businesses are set aside for Liberians; but they used some Liberians to front for them,” Jones alleged.
He said the closure order is based on the fact that the Ministry of Commerce wants to ensure that the Liberian investment code is implemented. “We have come here to close down this entity by the laws and not the will of the Ministry of Commerce. There is a law that prohibits non-Liberians from engaging in such business and the Consumer Protection Unit at the Ministry informed us about the illegal practice,” Jones emphasized.
He further maintained that the action enhances the government’s plan to encourage Liberianization and create more small Liberian business entrepreneurs.
For his part, Eric Filor Nagbe, Accounts Consultant of the Nice Ice Cream refuted the assertion that the business violates the investment code of Liberia.
“Our hands are clean. Under the Investment Act the businesses listed exclusively for Liberians do not include ice cream. The second section of the laws has a protective clause but does not stop foreigners from engaging in such business,” said Nagbe.
“We are not the ones producing the ice cream; the Liberian business produce the ice cream and sell it to these people,” he said, adding, the action by the Ministry of Commerce is geared towards protecting some friends of the Ministry.
“We are not in violation of the laws and the court will prove it. This is very bad for the growth of businesses in Liberia and there is need for total shakeup at the Ministry of Commerce,” Nagbe said.