Business News of 2014-08-20

51 containers of rosewood intercepted at Tema Port

Fifty-one containers of rosewood being allegedly smuggled out of the country have been intercepted by officials of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the Tema Port.

The interception followed a July 15, 2014 directive issued by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources revoking permits issued to exporters of the product.

A detention note has since been issued on the consignment.

The government, in 2009, issued a ban on the harvesting and exportation of rosewood as a result of what it described as a virtual loss of the fragile savanna landscape and biodiversity.

The ban was, however, relaxed in June 2013, with the government announcing that it had put in place measures to forestall the adverse effects of the felling of rosewood.

FOB Value

The free-on-board (FOB) value of the seized consignment is estimated at $896,023.53.

The Chief Revenue Officer in charge of Preventive at the Tema Port, Mr Kwesi Ahiakpor, told the Daily Graphic that the consignment was being exported to India by a forwarding agency, Intercargo Services, on behalf of Sidakon Woods Limited.

According to him, 30 containers of rosewood were exported to China in June this year prior to the reinforcement of the administrative ban by the ministry.

He said customs had intensified efforts at minimising the smuggling of banned products through the port.

"The export review processes underway are part of measures being put in place to streamline and appraise export procedures to ensure that incidents of smuggling of banned products were minimised," he said.

Ban on Exporters

Mr Ahiakpor indicated that investigations into circumstances around the siezed wood, would establish the source of the wood, as well as the source of the permit granting the consignees the permission to export it.

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