CSOs Demand Prosecution of ‘Rosewood Queen’
The Baobab Market, a civil society organisation based in Tamale, is calling for the prosecution of Helen Huang, the Chinese national arrested for illegal possession of rosewood.
She was arrested by the police at the Vittin barrier in Tamale when she was transportating rosewood from the region to Tema.
According to the NGO, the prosecution of the Chinese national will serve as a deterrent to others.
At a press briefing , a member of the Baobab Market, Suweidu Abdulai, told journalists that traditional leaders must support the ban on the felling and exportation of rosewood from their communities.
‘ The rosewood species takes 50-100 years to mature and the harvesting of rosewood under the disguise of ‘salvage permits’ is greatly destroying the already fragile savannah ecological zone, ‘ he said.
This year, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources banned the harvest of rosewood in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Helen Huang, a 43-year-old Chinese woman was arrested by the Northern Regional Police Command for allegedly possessing large quantities of rosewood.
Supt. Otuo Acheampong, Northern Region Crime Officer, said the suspect was arrested with two trucks carrying four containers of rosewood.
Upon her arrest, Helen Huang allegedly claimed ownership of the rosewood, adding that she had the right documents to cover the rosewood but failed to produce the said documents.
There was however drama at the Regional Police Command when Helen Huang accused the police at the barrier of demanding bribe from her to allow safe passage.
According to her, she was arrested because she refused to pay the bribe demanded by the police and not because she does not have the right documents.
Responding to the allegations against the police, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), DSP Mohammed Yussif Tanko, said investigations would be conducted to establish the truth. He gave an assurance that the police administration would act decisively if the allegations were found to be true.
FROM Eric Kombat, Tamale