Minister refutes ‘EIA not consulted’ in rosewood report investigations claim

Rosewood

Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural resources, Benito Owusu Bio, has refuted claims by Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Clement Apaak on the non-involvement of Washington-based Environmental Intelligence Agency (EIA) in government’s investigation of illegal rose wood trade from the country.

Mr Owusu Bio in a live radio discussion on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem Monday, said contrary to claims made by Mr Apaak, the EIA, Forestry Commission, Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) in timber trade along with some individuals from research institutions were called upon to assist government in its investigations into the illegal rosewood trade.

 

Mr Benito-Owusu-Bio, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources

But in a rebuttal in the same live radio discussion, the legislator for Builsa South asserted that the claim of inclusion of EIA and the Forestry Commission in government’s investigation was untrue and as such was not surprised at the acquittal of some government officials said to be involved in the illegal trade in the report released by EIA.

Mr Clement Apaak, MP for Builsa South Constituency

Reacting to allegations of the acquittal of government officials believed to be involved in the illegal trade, Mr Owusu-Bio said the video evidence provided by EIA as proof of the involvement of government officials was inconclusive as no face was shown in the video except the voices of two people talking about how to trade in rosewood.

Mr Apaak further alleged the illegal trade of rosewood was still ongoing despite claims by the Ministry that it had been curtailed.

An allegation the Deputy Minister further refuted.  

Background

A report by
US-based Environmental Intelligence Agency last year claimed export permits
were being given to New Patriotic Party officials illegally despite a ban.

The
report cited Senior Forestry Commission Official, Nana Nsiah, for taking bribe
from exporters to allow for export.

This caused government to set up a committee to
investigate Washington-based EIA’s claim.

Government
officials said to be involved in the illegal trade were acquitted following
investigations by the investigative committee setup by government.

Commenting
on EIA’s report titled, ‘Ban-Boozled’: How Corruption and Collusion Fuel
illegal Rosewood Trade in Ghana,” Mr Kyeremeh, Minister for Lands and Natural
Resources said the methods used by EIA to draw some of their conclusions were
not scientific and videos provided as evidence to back their allegations were
inconclusive.

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