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20.03.2004 Regional News

Seventeen trucks carrying illegally sawn timber impounded

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Sunyani, (B/A), March 19, GNA - Seventeen trucks loaded with illegally sawn timber have been impounded by the Sunyani Municipal Office of the Forestry Service Division.

The trucks, which were seized about three months ago in intermittent operations, are currently parked at the premises of the Office, with some of their drivers loitering the area hoping for a reprieve.

The registration numbers of some of the trucks are AS 1745 P, GW 5623 Q, BA 968 P and BA 1149 P.

Mr. Joseph Yaw Aidoo, National President of Environmentally Concerned Citizens Association of Ghana, who is leading a monitoring team of the Association to Brong Ahafo, commended the Sunyani Office for its efforts in checking the activities of illegal chainsaw operators. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Sunyani on Friday, Mr Aidoo praised the staff for impounding the trucks, saying it was a refreshing strategy unlike the past when such trucks were off-loaded and released to their owners, pending further Police investigations.

The new administration under Mr Sowah, the Municipal Forestry Officer had decided to let any impounded truck loaded with timber remain unreleased till the outcome of the case at the law court, he noted.

Mr Aidoo said the Association fully endorsed "this course of action" by the new Municipal Forestry Officer on illegal chainsaw operations as the release of such trucks to their owners, as was done in the past, did not serve any deterrent.

He cautioned truck owners to take a cue from the new strategy not to convey any illegally sawn timber from the forest reserves since that could lead them into losing their vehicles when caught.

"It is an eye-opener to other District and Regional Officers of FSD to emulate Sunyani Office to serve as a warning or awareness creation to the general public to stay clear of illegal timber operations", he said. Mr Aidoo and his team later inspected the Association's tree planting projects at Dormaa-Ahenkro and Asunsu No. 1, both in the Dormaa District, Bediako in the Asunafo District, Jinijini, in the Jaman District, Kobedi in the Sunyani Municipal Assembly and Techiman.

He said the team, which also undertook a similar inspection of projects in the Ashanti Region found about 10 trucks impounded by the Kumasi Municipal Office of FSD through its taskforce.

Other members of the team are Mr Albert Amoakwa Boadu, National Organiser, Mr George Gabrieh and Mr B.A. Kyere, members.