Gov’t has intentionally covered up rosewood illegality with report-MP
The Member of Parliament for Builsa South Dr. Clement Apaak has accused the government of covering persons who were alleged to been involved in illegal rosewood trade.
The legislator says the committee that was tasked to investigate the matter failed to properly probe the matter despite the evidence available.
The seven-member committee set up to probe the matter stated in the findings that the evidence provided by the Economic Intelligence Agency (EIA) failed to sufficiently back their allegation of corruption.
”The allegation by the EIA that Ghana has exported over Six million Rosewood trees between the period 2012 – 2019 is a gross over-estimation of Ghana’s Rosewood export trade volumes. Based on the inventory data available, Ghana does not have that quantity of merchantable Rosewood trees to be harvested and exported during the period in question. The Committee’s assessment showed that the actual Rosewood timber harvested for the period 2012 -2019, using the Chinese import data is 489,766 (Four Hundred and Eighty-Nine thousand, Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six) trees and not Six Million (6,000,000) as inaccurately stated by the EIA. The EIA methodology used in the calculation of number of trees harvested in Ghana is not scientific and cannot be accepted. ”
But Dr. Apaak believes that ” The government committee intentionally refused to invite the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which published a detailed report ” Ban Boozled” suggesting government officials, New Patriotic Party members/officials were being given permits illegally to harvest and export rosewood in collaboration with leading officials of the Forestry Commission.
According to him, ”the committee didn’t invite the producer of the equally damning JoyFm documentary titled “Killing Our Roses” which made similar allegations.
”So, how could the committee claim it “didn’t have adequate evidence to establish corruption cases against any officials of government” when neither the EIA nor the Joyfm investigative reporters who have such information were not invited to provide better and further particulars?
Though government largely ignored the damning earlier JoyFm documentary report, it instituted the committee on the back of the international embarrassment captured in the EIA report that forced the hand of government to set up the lopsided committee led by Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu Bio, to investigate this issue. I will formally respond to the 77-page government “coverup” committee report in detail in the coming days. All the same, I await the outcome of my petition to the Special Prosecutor based on the EIA and joyfm reports,” he concluded.