‘Fire Lands Minister!

Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South Constituency in the Upper West Region, Dr Clement Apaak, is demanding the immediate dismissal of Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Kwaku Asoma Cheremeh, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, for their alleged involvement in the exportation of rosewood in the country.
According to a report by US-based organisation the Environmental Investigation Agency, despite the ban on rosewood felling and exportation in the country, a total of six million rosewood trees have been exported to China.

Addressing the media in Parliament on Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 the Builsa South MP called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to sack Mr Asoma Cheremeh and Mr Owusu Afriyie and also institute a committee to investigate the scandal and punish all officials involved in the illegal practice.

“I call on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is also the leader of the NPP, to institute an investigation into what happened and to ensure those involved in this illegal trade are punished. He should begin by dismissing the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, who will obviously be complicit because of his dual responsibility as a leading party member and the man in charge of the Forestry Commission.

“Secondly, he should also fire his Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kweku Asomah Kyeremeh, for supervising this rot; he the minister should even have done the honourable thing by resigning from his post by now because he has virtually committed perjury against the legislature. He was on the floor of Parliament to assure us that the rosewood felling is no longer happening in the country because a ban has been put in place but now the evidence in this report and the investigative reports that various media houses have put out recently as well as what I have seen and read with regard to rosewood show that the minister actually deceived all of us Ghanaians.”

“The harvesting of rosewood is still happening; no government appointee should be allowed to deceive Parliament and go scot-free. I call on the good people of Ghana to rise and defend the land. There have been demonstrations against hardships and other challenges in this country, but it is also about time that we rose and ensured that this illegal rosewood business ends,” Dr Apaak noted.

The Builsa South lawmaker revealed that he has petitioned the Office of the Special Prosecutor (SP) to investigate the case and he (Dr Apaak) is of greatest of hope that the SP’s office will look into the issues to bring a finality to the illegal felling and export of rosewood.

The ban on felling and export of rosewood was put in place in 2012, but despite the ban, illegal logging and export of the specie continue unabated.

According to sources, at least, six million trees have been exported to China after Mr Kwaku Ansoma Kyeremeh, Lands and Natural Resources Minister, announced a renewal of the ban.

The evidence at hand was clear that the ban was being flouted and the illegal felling was ongoing but the minister and his deputy continue to deny it.



Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklin.asare-donkor@todaygh.com

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