The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh has caused a Kia truck loaded with illegal lumber at Sunyani in the Bono Region to be impounded.
The minister who was returning from a trip in the region chanced upon the truck with registration number AS 4955E loaded with the illegal lumber and was heading from Dormaa to Yeji in the Bono East.
The minister tried to stop the truck but the driver ignored the signal and smashed and destroyed the Lands Minister’s car instead. Mr. Asomah Cheremeh had wanted to inquire about the destination of the lumber.
The driver was later apprehended by some good citizens who chased after the vehicle.
Addressing the media at a press conference organised on Sunday in Sunyani, Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh said when the driver was arrested, they suspected that there was something fishy with the documents covering the lumber. Carefully examining the documents, it was realised that the amount paid in VAT was higher than the actual cost of the lumber, which further raised their suspicion and therefore referred the case to the appropriate authorities for further investigations.
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According to the Minister, his license and that of the Kia driver as well as documents of the truck have been deposited at the Sunyani Police station pending investigations into the matter.
Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh said, due to the fight against illegal lumbering and rosewood in the country, the dealers have developed a strategy by transporting it through unapproved means therefore the ministry is always on high alert.
According to the minister several arrests have been made in a similar manner across the country where a number of rosewoods and other illegal lumbers have been impounded and what happened in Sunyani is not an exception.
Allegations on Social Media
Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh debunked allegations against him on social media that he demanded money from the driver and caution his detention overnight. Asserting that the allegations are figments of the imaginations of the accusers, he explained that both he and the driver left the police station after the police had taken their statement, insisting nobody requested for anything from the Kia driver.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has banned the lumbering of rosewood in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).