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General News of Monday, 11 February 2013

Source: GNA

64 impounded Rosewood containers disappear at port

Mr. Thomas O. Mills, Member of the Lands and Forestry Taskforce has called on the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to probe the disappearance of some 64 containers containing Rosewood.

The containers were impounded by the orders of Mr. Mike Hammah, former Sector Minister to check the illegal export of lumber at the harbour.

This follows series of reports about illegal export of Rosewood and Teak.

Mr. Mils said in an interview with Ghana News Agency in Accra that the irregular practices are denying the State of much needed revenue.

He explained that this compelled the former Minister to constitute the taskforce.

Mr. Mills claimed that the operations of the taskforce are not transparent, leading to the marginalisation of some members who are not privy to the day to day activities of the group.

The disaffected members have therefore decided to distance themselves from the operations of the taskforce.

Mr. Mills called on the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to disband the taskforce and reconstitute the body and ask the members to account for their stewardship.

They must explain how the 64 containers of Rosewood found their way out of the country at the time when there was a ban on the export of the commodity and provide documents covering containers that were exported during their operations at the harbour.

Mr. Mills said any member found culpable of how the Rosewood left the country should be prosecuted.

A letter signed by Mrs Gifty Biyira Mahamah, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on behalf of the then Minister on August 24, 2012, said investigations conducted at Tema Port indicate that large quantities of timber namely Rosewood and Teak are being exported illegally to Asia and other destinations.

This led to the composition of a taskforce to carry out verification of all export documents of timber products before shipment.

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