Rosewood : Clement Apaak petitions Special Prosecutor to probe Forestry Commission

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh

MP for Builsa South Constituency, Dr. Clement Apaak has petitioned the Special Prosecutor to investigate the Forestry Commission.

A report which was published by the Environmental and Investigation Agency in the US cited the Forestry Commission and the Wildlife Division for issuing an illegal permit for the felling of the tree.

According to Clement Apaak, some government officials are being issued with permits to fell the tree, he, therefore, petitioned the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute the individuals involved.

"I have petitioned the office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate the allegations of bribery that has allowed the illegal rosewood business to thrive and to prosecute those involved, I have submitted the petition to the Special Prosecutor today and in the petition I provided him with details in this report by the EIA and they have indicated their readiness to provide the office of the Special Prosecutor with more details on this so that he can investigate and prosecute anyone including party and government officials behind this illegal trade."

 Forestry Commission's earlier reaction

Ghana’s Forestry Commission in a statement highlighted several aspects of the documentary by BBC on the trade of Rosewood and suggested that the said claims were false.

According to the statement, the former Executive Director of Wildlife Division, Nana Kofi Adu-Nsiah who was cited in the documentary has denied any wrongdoing.

“Nana Kofi Adu-Nsiah has thrown a challenge to anyone who has proof of his involvement in any illegalities to come forward and prove that,” Public Relations Officer of Forestry Commission, Joyce Ofori Kwafo, indicated in the statement.

The Commission also said the BBC’s claims that 6 million rosewood trees have been exported to China from 2012 to 2018, while bans have been in place in Ghana, are untrue.

“Officially published records from Forestry Commission(Report on Export of Timber and Wood Products)indicates that from 2012 to May 2019, a total of 300,368.94 m3of rosewood products has been exported, with a roundwood equivalent of 385,845.50m3, which translates into 257,230 trees approximately, and not 6million trees,” the Commission stated.

“It should also be noted that the ban had been lifted from time to time during this period,” it added.

Meanwhile, a ban on trade in Rosewood is still in force.