US-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is calling on government to release the uncensored investigative report on the illegal logging of rosewood in the country.
A seven-member committee set up by government last year to investigate the illegal trade submitted its report to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Kwaku Asomah Kyeremeh last month.
The minister says his office is studying the report before it will make it public. But EIA in a statement by Lindsay Moran who is Head of Communications, calls for immediate implementation of recommendations in the report.
“EIA invites the government to share publicly the long-awaited report, uncensored, and including all supporting evidence gathered by the committee. This release and the immediate implementation of decisive actions against traffickers are the first steps toward ending the illegality, corruption and violence endemic to the illegal trade in rosewood from Ghana,” the statement said.
Last week, the Minority in Parliament made a similar demand for the release of the report, alleging government is holding onto it as part of attempts to cover up.
Last year, a Joy News documentary “killing our roses” highlighted how despite a government ban on the illegal harvesting of rosewood since 2012, the illegal trade had continued.
An investigation published subsequently by EIA revealed the illegal trade was being fuelled by corrupt senior officials of the state-run Forestry Commission and officials the governing New Patriotic Party who were being.
An investigation published subsequently by EIA revealed the illegal trade was being fuelled by corrupt senior staff of the state-run Forestry Commission and officials the governing New Patriotic Party.
“The completion of the investigation marked an important step in beginning to address the deepening rosewood crisis in Ghana,” the statement said.
EIA claims since the adoption of the latest ban on the harvest, transport and export of rosewood, in place in Ghana since March 2019, over 139,000 tons of rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) have been imported into China from Ghana, for a total value of $ 82 million.
“Ghana remains the top exporter of rosewood in terms of value in
Africa. Recent data reveal that the illegal rosewood trade is still
thriving in Ghana; nearly $8 million worth of rosewood, equivalent to
over 12,000 tons, was exported from Ghana to China in November 2019
“This level of trade, despite the national ban, is alarming. The announcement by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources that no export permit under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will be issued appears to have had no effect in practice,” the statement added.
EIA warns tensions are mounting inside communities where some members are suspected of colluding with traffickers in the illegal trade that should be dealt with. “The ongoing and unabated traffic is upending delicate socio-cultural equilibriums and destabilizing communities,” the statement claimed.