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The Bono Regional Forestry Commission (FC) has impounded 21 vehicles carrying illegal lumber from various forest reserves in the region.

This operation, which has been ongoing for the past month, has resulted in the arrest of different vehicles on separate routes and occasions.

The confiscated lumber includes Ceiba, ‘Kyenkyen’ (Antiaris toxicaria), ‘Essia’, ‘Ofram’, ‘Wawa’, ‘Mansonia’, ‘Odum’ and other tree species.

At a media briefing in Sunyani, Mr. Augustine Gyedu, the Bono Regional Manager of FC, said out of the 21 impounded vehicles, 11 had no documentation covering the lumber being transported.

The remaining vehicles with proper documentation either contained multiple species of lumber not specified in the documents or had a lesser quantity of lumber than stated in their documentation, he added.

Mr. Gyedu explained the Commission had obtained a court order to seize the illegally transported lumber without proper documentation, saying vehicles with documentation but carrying excess or different species of lumber not captured would also have them confiscated.

He stated some of the seized lumber would be allocated to the Regional Coordinating Council for the purpose of making furniture for schools, another portion would be given to the Regional Sports Authority to upgrade the football stands at the Sunyani Coronation Park, while the remaining lumber would be sold to the public.

On her part, Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister expressed concern about the gradual transformation of the region into a savannah zone because of the persistent illegal logging of timber from the region’s forest reserves.

According to her, the once flourishing forest belt of the Bono Region boasted of the fertile farmlands that produced abundant food supplies for both local consumption and export, but the destructive activities taking place within the forests had caused significant depletion.

Mad. Owusu-Banahene urged the public to actively oppose any illegal activities taking place within forest reserves, as their protection and preservation were crucial for national progress and the well-being of future generations.

Regarding penalties, Mr. Gyedu said the arrested vehicles would be subjected to fines ranging from GhC1,500.00 to GhC10,000.00, depending on the size and type of the vehicle.

He appealed to those involved in illegal lumbering and the public to stop engaging in those activities, emphasising that anyone found guilty would be prosecuted by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Mr. Gyedu urged individuals and companies interested in purchasing the confiscated lumber to submit their applications for evaluation, saying any application that would meet the supply criteria would be granted.

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