THE Ashanti Mampong District Office of the Forest Services Division (FSD) which has jurisdiction over the Mampong and Ejura-Sekyere-Odumasi districts has intensified its efforts to clamp down on illegal timber operations in the two districts.
As part of the effort, day and night patrols by forestry personnel in the forest reserves are being undertaken and more effective relationship between FSD and the forest fringe communities forged.
Mr. Robert Dery, the District Manager of FSD, told newsmen here yesterday that large quantities of teak logs billets worth several millions of cedis illegally felled in some of the forest reserves had been impounded within the past six months.
A number of illegal timber operators he said had also been arrested and handed over to the police for investigations and prosecution.
Ё In an un related development, Francis Quansah, a driver's mate of Techiman has been fined ў3 million by a District Magistrate Court at Ejura for illegally entering a forest reserve and harvesting timber without permit.
He will serve a prison term of six months in default of the fine.
Quansah, who pleaded guilty was accused of entering compartment 20 of the Pru Shelter Belt Forest Reserve, near Ejura with other people now at large in November last year in the night and illegally felled 37 teak trees worth ў30.6 million.
A team of forestry officials who went to the reserve upon a tip off, arrested Quansah while his colleagues escaped. A KIA Cargo truck with its registration number plate removed was also impounded.
Quansah claimed that the truck was driven into the reserve by his Master Kofi Samuel who escaped but was later arrested in connection with another case of illegal timber operation and jailed.
Ё In another development, Osei Kofi, described as the leader of a teak stealing gang from Techiman has been remanded in prison custody for two weeks by the Ejura District Magistrate Court for illegally felling 90 teak trees in compartment 19 of the Pru Shelter Belt Forest Reserve.
A single barrelled gun and a chain-saw were seized from the accused and his group.