Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Abas Apaak, has said failure by authorities to arrest and prosecute the syndicates behind harvesting, transportation and exportation of rosewoods, in spite of the ban placed, has put the reputation of Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor on the line.
The lawmaker, who has been on a crusade against the illegal business since the ban was announced said, if Ghanaians did not see the arrest and public prosecutions of those behind breaking the law and engaging in the rosewood trade, would make it clear that government officials are complicit and must be blamed.
In a statement sent to The Herald, Dr. Apaak said, "the current Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Abu Jinapor, must show that it's not business as usual. His reputation is on the line. If Ghanaians don't see arrests and prosecutions of those breaking the law by harvesting, transporting and exporting or attempting to export rosewood, then it would be clear as always, the official complicity is to blame".
His comment, follows the latest arrest and seizure of an articulator truck with registration No GN 411-11 loaded with banned rosewood on the Savelugu-Diare stretch of the Tamale-Bolgatanga highway near Diare by the Savelugu Police Command.
The truck, carrying two 40-footer containers stopped on the Tamale-Bolgatanga highway, was transporting the wood from Yagaba forest reserve in the North East Region
According to the Police, the driver of the truck mentioned one Marzuk Mohammed as the owner of the illegal rosewood, but sensing he will be arrested, bolted, leaving the truck behind.
Marzuk Mohammed, who later showed up, attempted to influence the Police during interrogation.
The arrest, which happened on August 21, 2021, at I: 00 PM, was led by G/CPL Ahmed Nuhu and two other officers.
The Northern Regional Crime Officer, Superintendent Bernard Baba Ananga, said a gentleman later showed up to claim ownership of the consignment and was arrested to assist in investigations.
Briefing the media, he said, "On the 21st of August 2021, our men on the road suspected a truck from the Bolgatanga road and decided to question the driver. The answers that the driver gave were not adding up, so they decided to check the container. When the driver got down, he took to his heels. So the police opened the container, checked and inspected it, and found some logs suspected to be Rosewood that we know are banned, in the truck."
"We arrested one man who later showed up as the owner. Subsequently, I informed the Forestry Commission to assist us with our investigation. Where our investigations establish the facts and connection, we will prosecute. There must be justice for everyone", he said.
According to the Police, the lumber was cut from the Yagaba Kubore District of the North East Region. The truck was heading for the port.
The Herald, has learnt that, this is the second time the suspect has been arrested. In the first instance, he was prosecuted for the offence.
Meanwhile, the case has been handed over to the Regional Command for further investigations. The suspect is currently on Police enquiry bail.
The Forestry Commission has also been written to on the crime of transporting lumber without authority from the forestry officials.
But the Builsa South MP is not happy about the turn of events, especially the manner in which the supervisory agency, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and government officials are dealing with the culprits.
He insists, "The rosewood thieves know no serious investigation will be conducted when their loot is impounded because the beneficiaries in officialdom, and or are connected to political power, will intervene. This is why since the ban and so-called reinforced bans, including a recent total ban of export of rosewood, the illegal logging and transportation and export is still continuing".
Below Is The Full Statement:
RE - Savlugu Police Impound Truckload Of Rosewood
The illegal harvesting, transport and export of rosewood continues despite an outright ban because the criminals violating the ban and engaged in this criminal act have no fear. They know when found out or arrested they will walk away free.
The rosewood thieves know no serious investigation will be conducted when their loot is impounded because the beneficiaries in officialdom, and or are connected to political power, will intervene. This is why since the ban and so-called reinforced bans, including a recent total ban of export of rosewood, the illegal logging and transportation and export is still continuing.
We are still waiting to see what will happen to the owners of the 5 containers impounded at the Tema port in June. So far no arrest occurred though the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources told Parliament the owners were uncovered.
We are in August folks, not even an arrest. So what are the chances that anything will happen in the case of the impounded rosewood at Diare in the Savlugu District on August 12th.
The current Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Abu Jinapor, must show that it's not business as usual. His reputation is on the line. If Ghanaians don't see arrests and prosecutions of those breaking the law by harvesting, transporting and exporting or attempting to export rosewood, then it would be clear as always, the official complicity is to blame.
Dr. Clement Abas Apaak
M.P, Builsa South
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