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Regional News Wed, 26 Jun 2019

Re-arresting Chinese ‘Rosewood queen’ not enough; we need to know her accomplices - Dr Apaak

The Member of Parliament for Builsa South Dr. Clement Apaak is demanding answers to how the Chinese national who has been re-arrested after she jumped bail following her arrest for illegally transporting a large quantity of Rosewood to Tema for export to China, left the country.

The legislator is also seeking answers to who the accomplices of the Chinese national Helene Huang are and how she entered the country after jumping bail for over 36 days after she as granted bail.

Ms Huang and the person who stood surety for her, Mohammed Bondirigbun, Tuesday appeared before the circuit court presided over by Justice Twumasi Appiah

She was since been referred to the Immigration Service to look into the documents of the Helen Huang for further investigation, while Bondirigbun has been acquitted.

The suspect was arrested in May at the Vittin police checkpoint on the Tamale-Yendi highway escorting the two trucks loads of Rosewood, with registration numbers BA 2225 C and GR9720-12, from the Yendi direction through the Tamale metropolis enroute to Tema.

She was rearrested after she reported herself to the police six weeks after she jumped bail.

But commenting on the matter in a statement, the legislator said the matter should be interrogated in order to find out the circumstances that led her to flee the country after she was granted enquiry bail and how she managed to enter the country.

The MP has further slammed government for failing to enforce the ban on the illegal felling of rosewood despite assurances given.

‘’Sadly, the lack of clarity about how the ban is being enforced and which institutions, agencies and services are responsible has created room for the criminal rosewood pillagers and their collaborators to continue the destruction of the savanna woodland ecological forest.

How can the ban be enforced, and therefore be effective when state agencies/institutions, rather than putting in the efforts to prevent the illegal logging of rosewood in the first place, are fighting over who takes custody of impounded containers of rosewood! I can understand the role of the Forestry Commission, what of EOCO and GRA? We need an explanation from GRA and EOCO on their various roles in the matter of rosewood. Is it the case that the turf war motivated by the revenue to accrue from the questionable prices at which impounded rosewood is auctioned?’’

Read Below the full statement

Rosewood Diaries – Ineffective Ban and Matters Arising

The fight to save the rosewood tree is not close to being won given the laxity in enforcement of what many consider a pretentious reinforced ban by the Nana Addo led NPP government. The very bizarre and shocking stories in relation to rosewood in the media, and the flimsy excuses from persons in authority are ample testimony.

Interestingly, our President, NADAA, is busy telling the world that his government has banned the logging and export of roseewood to protect our forest at a Climate change summit in Austria, when in actual fact the ban is ineffective.

Sadly, the lack of clarity about how the ban is being enforced and which institutions, agencies and services are responsible has created room for the criminal rosewood pillagers and their collaborators to continue the destruction of the savanna woodland ecological forest.

How can the ban be enforced, and therefore be effective when state agencies/institutions, rather than putting in the efforts to prevent the illegal logging of rosewood in the first place, are fighting over who takes custody of impounded containers of rosewood! I can understand the role of the Forestry Commission, what of EOCO and GRA? We need an explanation from GRA and EOCO on their various roles in the matter of rosewood. Is it the case that the turf war motivated by the revenue to accrue from the questionable prices at which impounded rosewood is auctioned?

We must know where Helen Huang was, who her accomplices are and when she entered Ghana

What of the illegal rosewood processing site/plant discovered in the vicinity of Damongo, the Capital of the Savanna region? What action has been taken against the Chinese owners and their Ghanaian collaborators?

But, all these embarrassing occurrences could have been prevented if the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources had put out the exact details of the ban; which state institutions, agencies, services and or personnel are in charge of the enforcement of the ban, and what the role of other stakeholders are! If Government had issued a communiqué outlining how the renewed ban is being enforced, the citizens of Ghana and community members in the source areas could have been clear on their roles and would be in a position to help in the fight against illegal logging, haulage and export of rosewood.

And if I may ask, where are the containers and logs confiscated since renewed and so-called comprehensive ban? How many containers have been impounded since the renewed ban? What actions have been taken against the owners of the vehicles? What has happened to the vehicles carrying the illegal rosewood? What of the owners of the stolen rosewood and the associated collaborators?

Mr. President, the ban on the illegal logging and export of rosewood is ineffective. I’ve suggested several times that the same effort and strategy adopted in the fight against illegal mining must be applied to protect the rosewood tree and by extension protect the savanna woodland ecological forest. You have every right to tell the world about the ban, I also have the right to tell you that the ban is ineffective! Please make it effective.

I remain a citizen.

Dr. Clement Apaak

M.P, Builsa South

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Source: rainbowradioonline.com