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Seven containers of rosewood impounded in less than two weeks

Seven huge consignments of rosewood impounded in separate operations.

Two trucks and five containers with rosewood intended for export have confiscated in the last 10 days.

The Savannah Regional Taskforce Against Rosewood Trade seized two trucks on Sunday, June 28, 2021, at Damongo.

Similarly, five containers carrying several logs of the endangered rosewood species were also seized at the Tema Port on June 17.

The Energy Commission raised suspicion that the containers contained illegal charcoal, but rosewood was discovered after opening.

In 2013, the government banned harvesting, transportation and export of rosewood, which lasted until 2018.

However, since 2018 the ban has been made indefinite to halt the illegal trade of the endangered tree species.

The impounded truck with rosewoods

Announcing the extension of the ban, the then Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh asked the Forestry Directorate to collaborate to fight the illegal trade.

They were to develop a watertight surveillance system or tracking mechanisms in the rosewood hotspot districts to eradicate the lucrative business.

He also called for an inter-agency collaboration between Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), the Forestry Commission, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the security agencies to clamp down on all forms of illegal trade in rosewood.

The move was in accordance with the recommendations made by a committee to investigate allegations made by the Environmental Intelligence Agency (EIA).

The agency had alleged that some government officials were involved in institutionalised corruption in the illegal trade.

According to the agency, about six million trees of rosewood had been lost to the illegal trade in the country.

Meanwhile, the committee, after its work, said it did not establish any acts of corruption against any government official.

It was contained in the report that “The video footages and other materials provided by the EIA did not have enough evidence to back its corruption claims.”

“Again, the actual rosewood exported between 2012 and 2019 was 489,766 trees and not six million trees as EIA alleged in its publication,” the report stated.

Meanwhile, the current Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, is pushing for the enactment of a law to control the auctioning of implements confiscated by government from illegal small scale miners and as well as the disposal of seized rosewoods.

According to him, his ministry has been notified that during auctioning the seized equipments and woods end up in the hands of same  offenders.

Therefore, the enactment of a law would help curtail such situation by putting in place clear directives to fight the menace.

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