Savannah Region: Police impound truck loaded with Rosewood

General News of Thursday, 22 August 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

2019-08-22

The truck is said to belong to a Chinese Rosewood firm that was closed down some months ago

A cargo truck loaded with Rosewood has been impounded by the Police in the Savannah Region.

The truck is said to belong to a Chinese Rosewood processing firm that was closed down some months ago.

According to reports, the truck loaded the illegal Rosewood at the Chinese Rosewood firm at Yipala in the West Gonja district of the Savannah Region.

In an attempt to transport the logs out of the area, owners of the truck allegedly covered it with bags of Charcoal.

The BNI upon a tip-off in Damongo blocked the truck at Soalepe and handed it over to the Police.

Citi News interview with Iddrisu Rahman the Assemblyman for Yipala where the Chinese rosewood firm was closed down revealed that the said cargo truck was at the firm to convey already processed wood which was acquired before the closure by the Regional Minister, Salifu Adam Braimah.

According to him, the illegal firm has not been operating since its closure in May this year.

“When the Regional Minister inaugurated a committee of inquiry to investigate this matter, everybody was happy, thinking that he was having a clear vision as to how to deal with this Rosewood matter but to our surprise when the Committee of Inquiry started its investigation, almost three weeks, they were done with their investigation.”

The good people of Damango, the good people of Savannah had never received any official report from the Committee as to what their findings were but to our surprise, the same committee has come to do self-assessment at the factory and they gave the go-ahead for management of the committee to process the material that was on the site but preventing them from buying any new material. So we are surprised they have come to take the processed wood and you cross them on the way that you are impounding the vehicle.”

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in March 2019 announced a ban on the felling of Rosewood, however, investigations by the Environmental Investigation Agency of the United States, accused the Forestry Commission and the Wildlife Division of issuing illegal permits despite the ban dating back to 2014.

The Environmental Investigation Agency noted that since 2012, over 540,000 tons of Rosewood; the equivalent of 23,478 twenty-foot containers or approximately 6 million trees, were illegally harvested and sent to China alone whilst the ban was in place.

A Chinese national, Helena Huang was earlier arrested with four containers of rosewood she was planning to smuggle out of the country.

Huang has subsequently been deported and no formal charges were pressed against her.

In June this year research conducted by the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) in collaboration with Kalakpa Youth Club and the Abutia Development Union found that 200 containers of rosewood were smuggled from the Kalakpa Resource Reserve in Abutia, in the Volta Region illegally.

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