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General News of Monday, 28 June 2021

Source: classfmonline.com

Illegal harvesting, transportation, export of rosewood continues – Apaak

Rosewood hidden in containers Rosewood hidden in containers

Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak, insists illegal harvesting, transportation, and export of rosewood continues in the country despite its ban and in the face of the Green Ghana agenda of the government.

In a statement, Dr. Apaak reiterated that even as the new Minister for Lands and Natural Resources seems poised to lead the effort to Green Ghana, the Illegal rosewood trade continues.

“How can Ghana be greened when officials and institutions are directly or indirectly through their complicity de-greening Ghana?” he quizzed.

On Friday 25th June 2021, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Abu Jinapor appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament with a team from his Ministry to answer to infractions made against his Ministry in the Auditor General’s report on MDAs for the year ending December 2017.

Dr. Apaak disclosed he sort permission from the Chairman of the committee, Aveje, to ask the Minister why after five years of a reinforced ban on the harvesting, transportation, and export of rosewood, the Illegal rosewood trade continues, and whether:

a) He will consider giving effect to the recommendations by the Benito Committee report, which was in reaction to the US-based Environmental Intelligence Agency (EIA) report, which alleged official complicity and the role of ruling party officials in the illegal trade and;

b) If he will implement recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Forestry on the illegal harvesting and export of Rosewood, especially, a halt in the issuance of salvage permits.

He said on the same day, a trusted source alerted him that developments at the Tema port confirmed that “the outrageous illegal trade was rife in spite of denials by officialdom, as many already know. A number of containers at the Tema port designated for shipment suspected to contain illegal charcoal turned out to contain rosewood when opened.”

The lawmaker noted that his sources told him the manager of the terminal and the exporter tried to prevent Ghana Energy Commission officials from opening the containers by calling "big men (corrupt, evil nation wrecker in my opinion).”

Dr. Apaak continued that present at the opening of the containers were Customs officials, Energy Commission officials, but Forestry Commission officials who were invited and had promised to show up failed to be present.

He has, therefore, concluded that the ban on illegal harvesting, transportation, and export of rosewood remain a hoax.

“The same institutions, officials and entities expected to enforce the ban are not only overseeing its violation but elements therein, are profiting from the destruction of the Savanna Ecological Forest,” he alleged.

“How can we claim to be greening Ghana when public, government officials, and institutions are busy de-greening Ghana for personal gains? He quizzed.

Dr Apaak disclosed that he is following the development closely and has filed a number of questions to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources on the illegal harvesting, transportation, and export of rosewood.

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