Gaby Kolajo, the owner of Lagos Island — a restaurant in Leyton, United Kingdom — has been fined £10,000 for calling mouldy chicken a special Nigerian meal.
In August 2018, Kolajo was ordered to close down his restaurant located at Lea Bridge road after officials of the Waltham Forest council asked him to deal with the mouse and cockroach infestation at his premises.
According to Waltham Forest council, the restaurateur was “caught red-handed” serving customers at a birthday party held at the premises a month after.
Responding to an environmental health officer on why the restaurant was not shut despite the prohibition order, he claimed that the order was for a different restaurant.
During a further inspection of his kitchen, a container filled with what was believed to be mouldy chicken was found.
But when Kolajo was questioned about the content, the council disclosed that he said it was a speciality traditional Nigerian dish of boiled crab.
Subsequently, a four-count charge was filed against him, bordering on; failing to keep the premises clean — in good repair and good condition; failing to put in place adequate measures to control pests. They also charged him for opening the premises and serving food to paying customers whilst the health risk condition remained imminent and placing unsafe food on the market which was unfit for human consumption.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hearing on the case was delayed.
But on December 7, 2021, a Stratford magistrates court found him guilty of all four offences and imposed the highest fine for violating the Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order.
Kolajo was told he must pay a total of £10,170, including £2,000 in costs to the local authority and a £170 victim surcharge.
In July 2020, Lagos Island was last inspected and was given a food hygiene rating of zero, meaning that it requires urgent improvement.