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.
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.
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.
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.