According to him, the independent body must be led by civil society groups in the area of the environment.
Their aim and objective, he added, must be to investigate what he termed as the continuous thievery and its associated to the destruction of our environment.
He was reacting to the latest activities of illegal rosewood activities in the Eastern region where the Okyeman Mining Protection Unit at Bunso Junction has impounded two trailers loaded with rosewood.
The rosewood were said to be illegally logged and were going to be transported to China.
Reacting to this, the legislator said any attempt to set a committee made of up of persons from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Forestry Commission, Government and or any Government agency would told no results.
The culprits he added would be left off the hook.
“Any investigative body led by or composed by officials of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Forestry Commission, Government and or any Government agency will only coverup as we saw with the fraudulent committee set up under then Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Asomah Cheremeh, to investigate the damning revelation by the EIA in 2019.”
He further alleged that efforts were made to have him lose his seat because of his first against illegal rosewood activities but he managed to win the polls became the voters saw him as the best option.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in August 219, set up a seven-member committee to investigate allegations of corruption in rosewood trade in the country.
The committee comes on the back of a publication by the BBC on a report published by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) titled “Ban-boozled: How Corruption and Collusion Fuel illegal Rosewood trade in Ghana.”
The report disclosed that, despite a ban on the harvest and trade in rosewood for the fifth time in Ghana, in March this year, and the listing of rosewood on the Appendix of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that came into force in January 2017, massive illegal logging and export of rosewood to China continued unabated and with impunity.
It further mentioned some individuals, including heads of institutions, who through fraudulent schemes, forged official documents, use of escorts, use of salvage permits, and misdeclaration of timber species, among others, aided the illegal harvest, transport, export, and CITES-licensing of the timber.
Specifically, it stated that since 2012, approximately six million Ghanaian rosewood trees have been imported into China while the ban on its harvest and export have been in place.
However, after the probe as completed, no one was implicated or punished.
The committee said that government officials were complicit in the illegal felling of rosewood has found no substantial evidence of such claims.
The committee in its report said it “did not have adequate evidence to establish corruption cases against any official of the government.”
The report, however, admitted that there were “several institutional weaknesses and lapses in the Rosewood trade; from the community level to the ports of exit.”
It is based on these reasons Dr. Apaak has called for an independent probe into the latest scandal.
Read the full statement below.
Well, well, well. I assure you no one will be punished for the continued pillaging of the savanna ecological forest
The EIA report was clear, this illegal trade thrives due to the rosewood cabal; collusion between party officials, government officials, forestry commission officials, and the deep pocked merchants.
Folks, the rosewood cabal did everything possible to ensure I didn’t return to parliament. Thankfully, the Builsa South people refused to be bought with filthy money and ill-gotten items. I remain thankful to God and grateful to my constituents for letting the Truth stand! I promise to advocate even more aggressively.
Any investigative body led by or composed by officials of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Forestry Commission, Government, and or any Government agency will only coverup as we saw with the fraudulent committee set up under then Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Asomah Cheremeh, to investigate the damning revelation by the EIA in 2019.
I call for an independent committee composed of and led by civil society groups in the area of the environment to investigate this continuous thievery and its associated destruction of our environment.
I remain a citizen.
Dr. Clement Apaak
M.P, Builsa South