… National Intelligence Bureau tasked to go into full scale investigation
The Minister of Lands and National Resources, Mr. Samuel Jinapor and some officials of the Ministry has inspected the confiscated 13 impounded containers of Rosewood that were imported into the country from Nigeria for re-export to overseas for commercial use.
The Minister disclosed that despite the ban on the harvesting, transportation, processing and the exportation of Rosewood some cartel are still engaging in these clandestine and nefarious activities of the Rosewood trade in the country and have therefore charged the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) and its allied agencies to fervently and collectively work together to unravel the persons behind the importation of the said commodity into the country.
Addressing the media shortly after the inspection at the Tema port, the Minister said policies and measures put in place by government to monitor the illegal trade of the said items is working hence intelligence reports have made it possible to keep track of the network of the cartel involved in these banned operations.
According to him, the operation is painting a glooming picture of the country to the international community saying the cartels are using the country as a transit to import the endangered tree species for onward shipment to overseas.
“Officials of the security agencies discovered 5 of suspected containers which proved to be carrying Rosewood and upon further search it revealed that there were actually 13 containers and not 5 as previously stated,” he explained.
He added that vehicles found to be involved in carrying of the wood to the ports will be equally confiscated to serve as detergent to others and explained further that government have enforced a total ban on the harvesting, transportation, processing and exportation of Rosewood and put an outright ban on the trade.
He said government have instituted a high powered body comprising the National Investigation Bureau, National Security, Custom Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to unravel persons behind the trade.
The Minister however called for a collective approach to fight the illegal trade and again commended the Tema Port authorities for their vigilance in exposing the works of the cartels adding that the group will be given a raw deal and will be flushed out and have their network disorganized and completely halt their operations.
Report by Ben LARYEA