From Samuel Agbewode, Ho
The office of the Forestry Commission (FC) in the Volta Region has accused the Domestic Lumbers Traders Association (DLTA) of engaging in dubious business practices, which is against the laws of the country.
According to the FC, conveyance documents in most of the cases cover one day (24 hours), but members of the DLTA would use the same documents for two or more days, which is against the rules.
The Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission, Mr. Anthony Saaniano, told The Chronicle in Ho that the illegal conduct on the part of the DLTA was discovered by the National Monitory Team from Accra.
According to him, the traders sometimes change the number plates of vehicles issued with the conveyance documents, with the intention of outwitting security officials on the road.
The wood dealers also load the products more than what has been specified in the conveyance documents. Mr. Saaniano said his outfit sometimes sells some of the logs seized from illegal chain-saw operators through public auction to the dealers.
According to him, if some of the auctioned logs are seized by the National Motoring Team, they are sent to the National Headquarters, and that if after investigation nothing untoward is found, the logs are released to the owners.
When contacted, the Chairman of the Domestic Lumbers Traders Association, Mr. Samuel Agbeko Sakabutu, denied the claims being made the FC, saying it was a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of the Association and cover up the alleged wrongdoings they (members of the Association) raised against the FC.
Mr. Sakabutu said it had become a norm for officials to blame those accusing them of wrongdoing, instead of changing their attitudes towards work.
According to him, his association would soon embark on a demonstration against Forestry Commission officials if they fail to mend their ways.
Sakabutu contended that members of the Wood Sellers Association would not, and cannot, tamper with the conveyance issued by the FC, because the dates and days the documents are supposed to last are clearly written on them.
He again denied that they deliberately increase the number of logs than what has been stated on the conveyance document.
According to him, the FC officials are rather exposing themselves to the right thinking people in society.
According to him, forestry personnel are found at vantage points on the highways, where they check all documents to ensure that the number of logs specified in the conveyance document tally with what the truck is carrying.