Rosewood Truckers have spent two months sleeping at the roadside following impoundment of their Vehicles by the Forestry Commission Ghana for conveying large quantities of the Contraband rosewood timber .
The Forestry Commission of Ghana,impounded at least 25 Container trucks allegedly smuggling rosewood from the Northern Part of the country to Tema Port for export.
Seven of the Vehicles in transit to Tema were held at Suhum Security check point in the Eastern region along the Accra -Kumasi Highways while other trucks seized at the Forestry Commission office and check point in Accra.
Since then,officials of the Forestry commission have failed to take any further action on the seized commodity and the Vehicles ,compelling drivers to sleep at the roadside for two months in guard of the Vehicles against theft.
Despite the harsh weather condition compounded by climate change and mosquitoes infestation , drivers ,cook,bath ,and sleep behind the seized vehicles exposing them to serious dangers .
According to the affected truckers, they paid ghc12,000 per truck to secure conveyance permit from the forestry commission given legal backing to the transporting of the timber hence the seizure came as a surprise.
The Truckers argue they were hired by owners of the rosewood timber therefore ,the commission should take custody of the timber and release the truck to them due to the huge financial loss incurring .
Spokesperson for the truckers at Suhum ,Mr.Budu Lartey , said they loss ghc5000 equal to $ 1200 per truck daily.
Ghana has ban logging and export of the endangered rosewood species since 2012 prohibiting the felling,harvesting and exportation of rosewood.
Despite the ban,some smugglers colluded with officials of forestry commission to harvest the contraband timber for export ,however,few are sometimes impounded .
The new Minister of Lands and Natural Resources,John-Peter Amewu, in February after assuming office,reminded officials of Forestry Commission about the fact that,the ban placed on rosewood across the country as part of efforts to bring sanity in the forestry sector,is still in force.
He said the ban also gives a directive to the Forestry Commission to stop issuance of felling permits for rosewood.
Rosewood is a fine-grained timber used principally for production of high-end expensive furniture for the élite across the world, especially in Asia (China). It is used also for making chess pieces, as well as parts of musical instruments. It is estimated that China alone imports close to 96 per cent of all rosewood lumber exported out of Ghana.The high external demand of rosewood has led to over exploitation of the species .
The Member of Parliament for Builsa South,Dr.Clement Apaaak,recently raised alarm at the increase illegal felling of rosewood in his constituency in spite of the current ban. He said rosewood logging is ongoing in Fumbisi, Uwasi, Weisi, Doninga, Bachonsi, Kanjaga, Wiesi, Gbedembilisi, Yepala and several other communities in the Builsa South District
The Lawmaker blamed the situation on corruption in the forest sector.
A report on corruption in the forest sector of Ghana laid by Ghana Integrity Initiative ,GII,in 2016 pointed out widespread corruption in the sector with a call on government to eradicate the endemic corruption to help protect natural resources .