Dynasty restaurant serves unhygenic food --in spite of AMA order to shut down (Saturday, September 27, 2014) Front page
Dynasty Chinese Restaurant, Thursday night opened its doors to customers in spite of an order by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) that it should be shut down for operating under unhygienic conditions.
The popular restaurant remained open throughout the night in an apparent defiance of the notice of closure the city authority issued to it last Thursday.
Responding to the news of the restaurant opening notwithstanding the directive, the AMA Public Health Director, Dr Simpson Anim Boateng, said “we’ll process them for court.”
“What they have done is a violation of our directive. We’ll go there again to check. If they defy our order, the AMA will take them to court.” he said.
The AMA had within the week started a crackdown on unhygienic restaurants, eateries and chop bars in the capital in the wake of a cholera epidemic that has left more than 130 people dead and more than 12,000 others hospitalised.
Ahead of last Thursday’s exercise, 30 chop bars were closed down last Tuesday at Agbogbloshie, also in Accra, for selling under unhygienic conditions.
On Tuesday, food items being sold by the chop bars were destroyed to prevent their sale to unsuspecting members of the public.
Follow up in the evening after it was closed
When the Daily Graphic team got to the restaurant, located on the Oxford Street at Osu at 8.20 p.m last Thursday, its flashy lights were on with the ‘OPEN ‘sign displayed at the entrance.
Although there were no diners on sight, waiters were busy setting things up for the night.
The team even bought a ‘take away’ worth GH¢35. Four other packs were on the counter.
A receipt issued for the food was number DNY4092894 dated Thursday, September 25, 2014 with 08:51:11 as of the time.
The dining hall and the foyer of the restaurant were neatly decorated, an appearance that contrasts with its kitchen.
Dynasty for three consecutive years won the Ghana Tourism Awards in 1996, 1997 and 1998, but the standards that gave it the spot light in those years was not what was on display in its kitchen when a team of officials from the Public Health Directorate inspected there last Thursday.
The restaurant’s Environmental Impact Assessment permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency has also expired on September 24, 2014, a day before it was shut down. However, a permit issued by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) expires on December 31, 2014.
When the AMA team arrived at the restaurant last Thursday, the ‘CLOSE’ sign was on the entrance.
The waiters had told the AMA officials that the eating place would open at 6.30 p.m and it was indeed opened although, Dr Boateng, had explicitly issued a shutdown notice to a staff member, who only gave his name as Jafar while other staff members pleaded for mercy.
The AMA team was also at the Frankie’s Hotel and Noble House Chinese Restaurant which escaped the AMA’s wrath with a caution. KFC, was, however, commended for keeping a good kitchen and storage facility.
Inside the kitchen, grease and soot had accumulated on the heat extractors. The walls were dirty. A defective gas cylinder in the kitchen had a stone on top of the regulator, probably to prevent a leakage.
Most of the stoves were rusty and appeared to have outlived their usefulness. Cobwebs were all over with a pungent smell hanging around the kitchen.
There was an algae around its pipelines and water tank while a lorry tyre filled with murky water and insects suspected to be mosquito larvae lay close to the entrance of the kitchen.
Follow up on Friday, September 26, 2014
At exactly 11.50 a.m today (Firday) when the Daily Graphic placed a call to the restaurant, the recipient of the call said the restaurant was open for lunch. Below are the excerpts of the conversation.
Dynasty: Hello this is Dynasty Chinese Restaurant.
Reporter: Please I need lunch, are you open?
Dynasty: Yes we are open
Reporter: It was on radio today that you have been closed down by the AMA. Is it true?
Dynasty: (laughs) We are open, food will be available.
Reporter: Thank you. I’ll be there soon.
A few hours later at 1.01 p.m., another call was placed to the restaurant and one Richard, who picked the call said the restaurant was open for business.
“It is just a small problem. We are still working,” he said when asked if they had sorted their problem out with the AMA.
At 1.30 p.m. Friday, when the Daily Graphic undercover team walked into the restaurant, a couple were already inside enjoying their meal. The ‘OPEN’ sign was on the door. The waiters could even afford to laugh over the matter.
They acknowledged that the situation had not changed in the kitchen.
However, they said they trusted management to change a few things to make it more suitable.
The Graphic team spent GH¢ 113 on fried rice and a pork sauce and ate the food in the restaurant. A receipt numbered DNY4092902 and dated Friday, September 26, 2014 was issued at 02:13:30.
When asked about why there were not many people at the time, a waiter said they were expecting more customers in the evening.
Although they expressed outrage about the media reports, they were still optimistic that their customers would still patronage their services.
Interactions with some of the workers in the restaurant indicated that the management had gone to see the AMA.
But Dr Boateng dismissed the claim, saying “I don’t think anybody at the assembly would want to even see them until they resolve the matter. I’m not sure they know the implication of what they are doing.”
Confronted with evidence
At 5:08 pm, the AMA Public Health Director with evidence provided by the Daily Graphic, returned to the restaurant where the waiters vehemently denied that they worked during the day.
However, confronted with the receipts from what was bought from them last Thursday night and Friday afternoon, they could not say anything but bowed their heads.
Dr Boateng then proceeded to the kitchen but the waiters and kitchen staff said the person who had the key had gone home.
This obviously put him off and he issued a caveat saying “if you don’t do all that I ask you to do, but continue operating, I will close this place down permanently. I mean it. I’m not joking.”
Some painters were, however, scrapping off lose paints and repainting the otherwise messy wall. The old lorry tyre with the suspected mosquito larvae had also been removed.
However, the algae around the water tank could still be seen.