Two (2) people have been arrested by the Sissala East Municipal Police Command for their involvement in an attempt to illegally transport Rosewood.
According to the Upper West Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Inspector Gideon Ohene Boateng, the Sissala East Municipal Command had a tip off that some individuals were loading a truck with logs suspected to be rosewood at Kassana.
Mr. Boateng said the police rushed to the community at about 10:40pm last Friday .
Upon arrival, the driver of the Man Diesel truck with registration number GW-3527-W who gave his name as Mutarii Abdulai was arrested while the truck was escorted to the Tumu Police Station.
The Driver of the Man Diesel truck told the Police that he was contracted by one Charles Amoah to pick the logs from Kassana and transport them to Walewale in North East Region.
Charles Amoah was then picked by the Police for interrogation. It is still unclear whether the logs are his and what he planned to do with the logs after transporting it to Walewale.
The two have since been released on bail while the Police continues with its investigation.
Speaking to GBC’s Mark Smith, the Municipal Chief Executive, (MCE), for Sissala East, Karim Nanyua said the confiscation of the truck was appropriate to help enforce government’s ban on the harvest and transportation of rosewood.
Mr. Nanyua however, indicated that the seized wood was not rosewood, but a tree known in Sissali as ‘holo’.
The MCE was quick to add that the more important issue was the ability of the Police to seize the truck and its content in line with government’s decision to ban the harvesting and carting of rosewood and other tree species without proper permit.
The MCE for Sissala East said for the country to rid itself of people who continue to harvest and transport rosewood illegally, more residents need to cooperate with the security agencies and report suspicious or illegal activities to the Municipal Assembly or to the Police.
He said the Assembly would continue to provide logistical support to aid the Police Service fight crime.
“I need to resource them to enable them undertake their normal patrols. Based on the information they [the police] got yesterday, if they were not to have fuel, it would not have been possible for them to make that timely intervention,” he stressed.
The Executive Director for Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP), Moses Luuri said successive governments have been lackadaisical in their approach to end the harvesting and transportation of rosewood.
He explained that several recalcitrant individuals are exploiting government’s decision to allow the salvaging of harvested rosewood hammered home the need for the government to revoke all permits for salvaging tress already harvested.
Mr. Luuri tasked government to allow for the formation of taskforces in areas with rosewood to deter people from carrying out their illegal activities.
He said the taskforces should be funded to comb through the forests and assess the quantity of rosewood that has already been harvested. When this is done, the already harvested rosewood would be used for the benefit of the various communities with supervision from the Taskforce.
Mr. Luuri disagreed with the CEO of the Forestry Commission Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie’s suggestion to burn all confiscated wood.
Story filed by Mark Smith