The Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak doubts the credibility of the report of the 7-member committee that probed allegations of illegal felling and smuggling of Rosewood.
The committee presented its report to the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Kweku Asomah Cheremeh on Monday, December 30 2019.
Dr. Clement Apaak who turned down an invitation to be a member of the committee says institutions which were part of the committee that looked into the matter were themselves complicit.
“The Committee itself is a very doubtful committee. I say so because many of us believe that you do not invite the same persons who have been indicted to sit and probe an accusation levelled against them…Besides the representatives from civil society and representatives from the business community, the rest of them were from the Ministry, the Lands and Forestry Committee of Parliament, GRA, Customs, and Forestry Commission. The timeline that the Committee itself announced from the onset was missed. So if the committee has presented its report to the Minister, we are waiting to see what that report is going to contain. But I have no faith in the committee from the onset.”
Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, set up the Committee headed by a Deputy Minister of the Ministry, Benito Owusu-Bio in August last year  to investigate illegal rosewood smuggling.
This followed the US-based Environmental Investigation Agency’s (EIA) publication accusing the government of failing to clamp down on illegal rosewood export despite the ban on the commodity.
The Committee was tasked to investigate allegations of corruption as reported in the IEA’s publication, examine all anomalies with respect to rosewood salvage permit, transportation and export trade and make recommendations for appropriate action(s) to be taken to halt the illegality, if any.
Members of the Committee are supposed to speak with relevant stakeholders within the Rosewood value chain to identify issues and challenges, in order to apply the requisite remedies.