The Mpraeso circuit court has sentenced three illegal chainsaw operators on counts of unlawful entry:contrary to section 152 of Act 29/90 and felling tree in a forest reserve without the written consent of a competent forest authority: contrary to section 17(2)(a) of Timber Resources Management Act 617/2002.
The three convicts, Kingsley Ayisi a chainsaw operator, Gyetuah David, farmer and Addo Abraham also a farmer appeared before the law court presided over by Circuit Judge Mariam Saleh Sinare. According to prosecuting officer Chief Inspector Ben Brew, the trio all residents of Aweresua near Akoase in the Eastern Region were arrested by officers of the Mpraeso Forestry Division who were on their routine inspections on 11th November 2015 together with a chainsaw machine which they had used in felling trees within the reserve.
They were handed over to the Police at Mpraeso for further investigations and it was revealed that the three had managed to fell three trees comprising one “Akye” and two “Danta” species valued at GH7, 320.00. The accused persons admitted their offence and after investigations were charged and granted bail to appear before court.
In court, the accused persons were each sentenced to pay a fine of 60 penalty units or in default spend six months in prison for the first count and pay 100 penalty units or in default spend twelve months in prison each for the second count, all sentences to run concurrently according to the presiding judge.
Commenting on the issue, Mr. Robert Derry mamager in charge of Mpraeso Forest District, said the commission is doing all it can to minimize illegal operations in the Mpraeso District but the serious aspect is that perpetrators operate in the night, “they go there deep in the night or early dawn to cut trees, but we have a monitoring team who are actually up to task and we are collaborating with police to get those perpetrators arrested, sometimes we bring in the military to augment our efforts” he said.
He affirmed there is one reserve called Esukawkaw Forest Reserve which has two big concessionaires, LLL Timber Limited from Kumasi and Sanstex Timber Company also from Kumasi operating in that forest. According to Mr Derry, these two merchants pay so much to the government and yet certain individuals go about feeling trees illegally. He cautioned people to desist from the illegal act.
Source:Agoo News/ Kofi Boahen Dankwa