Some of the trucks packed at the forestry commission, Sunyani
OWNERS OF 13 articulator trucks carrying illegal chainsaw lumbers bound for Bourkina Faso have abandoned the trucks and their contents at the regional forestry commission premises after their arrest by the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Kweku Asomah-Cheremey.
The drivers have refused to mention the name of the owners of the consignment thereby making investigations into the illegal wood trade difficult for police and officials of the Forestry Commission according to the regional manager, Thomas Okyere.
The commission indicated that it was seeking clearance from court through the regional minister to offload the woods from the trucks and auction them. This, Mr. Okyere said was necessary and urgent because the woods can go bad since they are perishable materials.
According to him, though investigations had established that the trucks were loaded at Dormaa Timber Market, owners of the vehicles cannot be traced. He disclosed that a delegation from the Dormaa queen mother had questioned him as to why he was still holding onto the trucks and their contents. He said he directed them to the regional minister since it was he (minister) who arrested the trucks and requested investigations into the illegal trade. Mr. Okyere also said calls from private lines who claimed to be calling from the presidency had threatened to deal with him if he would not release the trucks.
This came to light after DAILY GUIDE wanted to find out from the commission what their investigations had revealed so far.
According to the regional manager, after the arrest of the first 5 trucks, a task force set up by the minister to patrol the same route arrested additional 8 trucks bringing the total number to 13.
He said since then, the trucks and their contents had occupied the premises and entrance of the commission making things difficult for the workers. He stressed that if the owners did not report after some time, the only option left for him was to seek clearance from the court and offload the goods and auction them. He was, however, not able to state the quantity of the lumber so far arrested. He said the drivers have no questions to answer since they were only hired by the owners of the consignment. He revealed that the minister had since instructed the police on the road to arrest any such trucks on that route.
It must be remembered that on 18th of last month, this paper reported the arrest of 5 illegal chainsaw lumber trucks by the Brong Ahafo Regional minister after he led the Regional Security Council to Banda Ahenkro and on his way spotted the trucks using the wrong route to Bourkina Faso.