14.03.2005 Crime & Punishment

Police Command check illegal logging

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Sefwi Wiawso (W/R), March 14, GNA - The Sefwi Wiawso Police Command in the Western Region has instituted pragmatic measures to check illegal logging activities in the district.

Speaking to newsmen Superintendent Joseph Kwame Anneh, the District Police Commander, said the illegal activities had raised the concern of not only registered timber contractors but also farmers whose farms were being destroyed with impunity.

He said the police recently arrested suspects who were alleged to have entered a concession of Samartex Timber and Plywood Company Limited in the Yoyo Forest and felled 20 valuable trees without authority.

The Police Commander however said that the police had not as yet found any concrete evidence to prosecute the suspects who had been granted bail pending further investigations.

Supt Anneh explained that the sudden death of the prime witness in the case, Mallam Seidu, who was bitten by a poisonous lizard in the forest just when the police moved in to take evidence from him had thwarted investigations.

''Another impediment in our investigations has been the refusal of the chiefs and people living near the fringes of the Yoyo Forest to identify the culprits to the police for fear of fatal reprisals from the illegal loggers.''

Supt Anneh appealed to the management of Samartex Timber and Plywood Company Limited to move their conveyance trucks to the concession in the forest to cart away 13 logs of Redwood and Asanfina illegally felled by unknown loggers.

The Police Commander said it was the responsibility of the Police, in close collaboration with all stakeholders, to protect the concession of genuine timber firms and warned that anyone caught engaged in illegal logging would not be spared.

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