The Member of Parliament for the Builsa South Constituency, Dr Clement Apaak, has called for investigation into the “illegal” export of rosewood from the country.
He has also called for a determination to be made of the roles played by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah Kyeremeh, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie in the process.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra yesterday, he said illegal activities had bedeviled the export of rosewood from Ghana.
Dr Apaak, therefore, urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to immediately initiate investigation into the allegation to save the treasured tree.
Dr Apaak made reference to an undercover report by a US-basesd firm into the felling and export of rosewood from Ghana.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), report titled ‘Bamboozled: How corruption and collusion fuel illegal rosewood trade in Ghana,’ was released on July 30, 2019.
The report among other things said despite a ban on the felling and export of rosewood, “powerful Chinese and Ghanaian traffickers are still harvesting and shipping rosewood out of the country.”
It also alleged that the traffickers “have established an institutionalised scheme, fueled by bribes, to mask the illegal harvest, transport, export, and illegal licensing of the timber.”
Felling of rosewood
Dr Apaak said he had filed several questions to demand for answers even before the report was released, but he indicated that the questions had not been admitted by the Speaker.
“Clearly,” he noted at the press conference, “the environment is being desecrated and this is the highest form of injustice to the people of Ghana.”
“The activities of these wicked and criminal minds [engaged in the illegal felling and export of rosewood] are threatening the very survival of my people in the Builsa South and the entire Savannah Region..
“This is because as they fell the rosewood trees, desertification is setting in, water bodies are drying up, we are seeing less rain, more young people are migrating south from the north, food is becoming more difficult to come by and people are dying”, he said.
Dr Apaak said he had petitioned the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate the allegations of bribery that had allowed the illegal rosewood business to thrive and prosecute those involved.
He said he was in contact with the EIA and it had indicated its readiness to provide the Office of the Special Prosecutor with more details on its investigation.
That, he said, was to allow the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute anyone behind the illegal trade.