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Forestry Commission probes 10 staff
From: Afia Amankwaah-Tamakloe/Asempa News/Ghana          Published On: August 8, 2011, 16:41 GMT
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Ten personnel from the Forestry Commission are being investigated for allegedly conniving with illegal chainsaw operators.

The 10 are thought to have disclosed vital information to illegal operators.

Five are currently facing the law courts, while three have been interdicted and the remaining two are going through disciplinary actions.

The Executive Director of the Forestry Commission, Samuel Afari Dartey disclosed to Asempa News after the launch of the 2011 Greening Ghana Day which took place at Winneba in the Central Region on Wednesday. The Greening Ghana Day seeks to create awareness about environmental issues.

Afari Dartey said his outfit had observed that some of his personnel were in bed with illegal operators whose activities are having serious effects on the Commission’s work.

The Commission has put some measures in place to clamp down on staff whose behaviour was tarnishing its image.

Mr. Afari Dartey noted that the Commission was in the process of having its own prosecuting unit where the necessary information governing the laws of forestry will be given out so that prosecutors would know the kind of sanctions to apply to offenders in court.

Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mike Hammah, on his part urged Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of tree planting in their localities in order to restore our forest depletion and the environment, as well as improve our economy.

Mr. Hammah noted that in spite of the numerous benefits the country derived from the forests like foreign exchange, bush meat, direct and indirect employment and other valuable resources, the forest continues to be under a serious threat of degradation.

“Just a few months ago I personally visited some forest reserves in the Ashanti and Eastern Regions to understand the complexity of the situation on the ground. It will interest you to know that in one of the reserves alone, I made six arrests of illegal chainsaw operators and the destruction they had caused was so huge and unacceptable,” he said.

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