Members of the NDF who are part of the team inaugurated to mount surveillance on the Asenanyo river forest reserve, here, and report on any legal forest operations to the Forestry Commission, informed the media about the illegal activities and the alleged official complicity on the part of the Forestry Commission officials in Nkawie.
Members indicated that over 20 timber trucks loaded with logs exited that portion of the forest in the Asananyo river forest reserve periodically.
They reported that the Reserve guard in charge of the area, did nothing to stop the illegal operations and that his posture in the town made it difficult for community members to question him.
When newsmen contacted Nana Poku Bosompem, the Nkawie District Manager of the Forest Service Division, he confirmed that there had been reported incidents of illegal logging in the Nyamebekyere portion of the forest in the Asananyo river forest reserve for the said period.
He added that Asenanyo river forest shared a common boundary with the Anhwiaso East Forest Reserve which is in the Western Region and the illegal loggers normally convey the logs to the Western Region for processing, making it difficult to arrest the offenders.
Nana Poku Bosompim said that the Nkawie Forest District had intensified monitoring activities around the Nyamebekyere –Nkyeremia –Bayerebon communities and that two timber trucks found to be part of the illegal logging activities together with a tractor had been impounded. One the tracks is currently in Kumasi under investigation by the police.
He said that the Nkawie forest district had collaborated with the Bibiani forest district in the Western Region to arrest the menace.
The two districts embarked on an operation in the Bibiani District on September 23 to dismantle and confiscate all wood processing machines in three unregistered sawmills believed to be part of the illegal logging in the Asenanyo River Forest
The district is collaborating with the other state agencies and the police to find and arrest the owners of the trucks as well as saw mill equipment and prosecute all persons involved in the illegal logging activities
Nana Poku Bosompim commended members of the NDF for their vigilance and support in protecting the forest and pledged continuous support for their activities as they were seen as major partners in the conservation of the forest.
Nana Poku Bosompim said an official enquiry into the illegal logging activities has been commissioned and that any personnel of the Forest Service Division whose act of commission or omission contributed to illegal logging in the area would be severally dealt with according to Forestry Commission’s conditions of service