Minister accused of granting permit to companies

Government’s claim of having banned the felling, harvesting and exportation of rosewood in the country appears to be a tactical deception as over 25 companies had been granted permits by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources as well as the Forestry Commission to harvest rosewood in the Upper East Region, Today can confirm.

Some documents sighted by the paper proved uncontested evidence of about 25 different companies being given the green light to go into the forest catchment areas of the region, mostly in the communities, where rosewood is grown, to harvest for commercial purposes.

In the Upper East Region, the land is thick with rosewood – some grown naturally, while people plant some and manage the forests. Most communities rely on its soil-grabbing roots to stabilise steep slopes and riverbanks, preventing erosion.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Peter John Amewu, in February, 2017 made a public announcement that there was a ban in force against logging of rosewood in the country, when the issue of illegal logging came up in the media.

However, contrary to that public announcement, it was later discovered that the ban on rosewood harvesting was not in force, as documents in possession of Today, showed that the same ministry had granted permits to 25 companies to harvest rosewood.

The application letter of one of the companies, Ken Asa Plus Limited, dated August 25, 2017, reads,” Application for Registration to Property mark to Harvest Rosewood in the Upper East.”

Another letter dated August 16, 2017, from the Forestry Commission which was addressed to the Upper East Regional Manager of the Commission under the headline: “Approval for grant of permit to salvage Rosewood,” directed the beneficiary companies to start work on 21st August, 2017.

The 25 companies include Messrs Jusdah Company Limited, Chrisgyaf, Turnsole Furniture Limited, Xglagi Limited, Musco Asante Limited, Kamvis Limited, Royal Space Limited, JB Comnect Limited, Membo Limited and Atakey Limited.

The rest are Ghanwood Limited, Sonturk Investment Limited, Trucking Construction Limited, Delwinde Enterprise, System Enumon-Tech, Igram Limited, Trans Atlantic Logistics, Nicdam Venture Limited, Softrade Impex Limited, Steven Abundant Graces Limited, Ken Asa Plus and K. Gyamfuaa Co. Limited.

However, when Today spoke to some Members of Parliament (MPs) whose constituencies have been affected by the logging of the rosewood, Dr. Clement Apaak, MP for Builsa South, for instance, said he was not perturbed over the development.

He subsequently threatened to drag John Peter Amewu before Parliament to explain why some companies had been granted permit when there was supposed to be a ban in place.

He pointed out that the application letter by Ken Asa Plus, seeking permission to harvest rosewood, deflates an initial explanation by the minister that the companies were to salvage and not to harvest.

 

Today In Parliament with Franklin Asare-Donkoh

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