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Forestry Commission sets up committee to probe illegal timber consignment

A three-member committee has been set up to probe issues relating to the alleged involvement of the Executive Director of the Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission, Oppong Sasu in the consignment of illegal timber.

This comes after the Okyehene Mining Protection Unit impounded a truckload of illegal timber worth GHS400,000 at Akyem Nsutam in the Eastern Region days ago.

Upon interrogation, occupants of the truck mentioned the Executive Director of the Forestry Services Division at the Forestry Commission, Oppong Sasu as the owner of the timber.

Speaking to Citi News on the back of this, the head of Corporate Affairs and Media Relations Unit at the Forestry Commission, Joyce Ofori Kwafo, explained that Mr Sasu has been asked to proceed on leave and hand over his duties as the committee probes the issue.

She also disclosed the terms upon the committee is expected to conduct its work.

“After consultations with the board, the outcome was that, the Executive Director of Forestry Commission should proceed on leave Monday, January 11, 2021, to pave way for a smooth and unbiased investigation into the issues raised. He is also to hand over the administration of the Forestry services to the Chief Executive Officer.”

“A three-member committee has been set up to investigate the matter and submit a report by February 1, 2021, with specific terms including to determine the ownership the consignment of timber, to establish the source of the consignment and to investigate the circumstances under which the said consignment was able to outwit Forestry Commission checkpoints where it originated to the point of arrest and also to establish whether Mr. Oppong Sasu was in any way involved in the transaction.”

It is believed the Overland Timber Trade (OTT) in Ghana is mostly done through unapproved means with timber products being taken out of the country without the requisite documents or taxes commitments.

Source: citinewsroom

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