The Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak, says government and its related agencies are complicit, promoting and facilitating the activities of illegal harvesting of rosewood.
The legislator who has been a fierce advocate of a campaign against such activities, has indicated in a write up that, it has become clear that government officials, and the requisite state institutions; Forestry Commission, are complicit, in fact, facilitators and promoters of the destruction of the savannah woodland ecological forest under the guise of a ban on harvesting and export of Rosewood!’’
Referring to a documentary by JOY News dubbed ‘’Killing Our Roses’’; the legislator said timber companies continue to defy a 2014 government ban on cutting down of rosewood.
The legislator is questioning why government would government allow the exportation of a product that is banned and its possession illegal?
Dr. Apaak has also expressed worry over the inability of the state to arrest and prosecute persons engaging in such activities.
In a barrage of questions the legislator asked: ‘’How come no one has been arrested and prosecuted since government announced a ban in 2017, even as the Ministry says 277 containers of impounded rosewood have been auctioned? Who were the stolen logs confiscated from? What happened to the vehicles carrying the logs? What of the drivers of the vehicles?’’
The MP concluded that the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission are accessories to the illegal harvesting and export of rosewood.
‘’It’s my opinion that the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commissioner are accessories to this crime against the savannah woodland ecological forest and the inhabitants of this ecologically precarious part of the world, including my constituency of Builsa South!’’
The Forestry Protection Act 174 is categorical that a person who causes damage by negligence in felling tree in a forest reserve commits an offence and is liable to a summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 500 penalty units or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or both but the provision has not been implemented, and nobody has punished for their offences, he lamented.
He made reference to the Committee Report by the Lands and Forestry which has proposed the strict punishment of persons who violate the law saying: ‘’The report by the parliamentary sub committee on Lands and Forestry and this documentary are enough evidence to warrant the dismissal of the Minister and the Forestry Commissioner. Why? Because, they continue to issue permits to companies log rosewood under the guise of “salvage”! But, will action be taken?’’
He has also called for the setting up of a task force similar to one we have dealing with the issue of galamsey because most these young men who are contracted by these companies to cut down the threes are armed to the teeth and well resourced because of the type of work they do.
He encouraged Ghanaians to watch the documentary since it exposes the complicit nature of government.
”I promise you one thing, this fight is on! Watch the documentary, share it far and wide. The world must know!’’