Customs Impounds 51 Containers Of Rosewood At Tema Harbour

Mr. Sabblah(second from right) and Kwesi Ahiakpor,Chief Revenue Officer,Customs Division Tema collection inspecting the containers.Photo Godfred  BlayThe Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Saturday seized 51 containers of Rosewood at the Tema Harbour being exported by Sidacom Woods Limited to India, in contravention of the ban on the export of the  product.The forwarding agent of the cargo is Intercargo Services Limited.

An inspection exercise conducted by Customs on Wednesday in the presence of the media, showed that all the containers were loaded with the banned wood.

Government on January 1, this year, with  the intention of  curbing the indiscriminate felling of the wood so as to prevent deforestation, banned the export of Rosewood timber from Ghana.

Briefing the media, the Assistant Commissioner, Preventive of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Czas N. Sabblah, said following reports that a company was attempting to export 57 containers of Rosewood to India, officials from the Customs Headquarters, their counterparts at the port and officials of the Ministry of Natural Resources, moved to the port on Saturday to intercept the 51 containers being loaded onto a ship.

He said the six other containers were not accounted for and when a few of the seized containers were opened, they were found to have been loaded with Rosewood.

Mr. Sabblah said efforts were being made to locate the “missing” containers whilst investigations were ongoing to identify the source of the cargo and whether they had any permits.

He hinted that the forwarding agents would be banned from doing business with Customs without prejudice to any legal action that might be taken against them.

He said declaration documents intercepted covering the cargo indicated that it was part of a consignment of 80 containers covering 11,367 pieces of Rosewood destined for China on June 24, 2014, with an export value of $806,023.53

Mr. Sabblah said the first consignment was successfully exported to China but the rest was being exported to India due to an upward appreciation of the value.

He said the cargo would be moved to the State Warehouse until investigations were completed adding that, after 30 days, the goods would be converted to seizure and later confiscated by the state when the Commissioner of Customs and the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources would determine the mode of disposal.

From: Godfred Blay Gibbah, Tema

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