Minister says Barrow not involved in illegal timber trade

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By Omar Bah

The minister of natural resources Rohey John Manjang has denied a report linking President Adama Barrow and some senior government officials to illegal timber trade.

The Gambia government issued a statement on Friday announcing the permanent revocation of all timber export and re-export permits.

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The development comes hours after government spokesperson refuted an article published by The Voice newspaper which alleged that President Barrow is involved in the trade.

Reacting to allegations in a statement sent to The Standard yesterday, Minister Manjang said the “allegation is totally false and intended to tarnish President Barrow’s reputation”.

She said the president has given her ministry the full assurance and support to ban the illegal timber trading which has been causing political instability between The Gambia and Senegal.

“So, it is erroneous for anyone to claim that the president will in turn support or engage in timber trading. That is completely untrue,” she said.

Minister Manjang said the ministry is committed to ensure that the ban on the trade is fully implemented. 

“We urge all relevant stakeholders within the natural resources sector and the general public to support us to achieve this important milestone. We will also engage district authorities and governors to ensure full enforcement of the ban,” she assured.

“The felling and or import of Pterocarpus erinaceus locally known as keno is banned; the felling of Cordyla africana, locally known as wulakonoduto, dimba or wild mango is banned. All timber cleared for import by the Department of Forestry, must have complete and duly certified import documentation including bills of lading showing proof of transport, as well as customs entries for every border it crossed before entering The Gambia, to avoid its forfeiture to the state upon arrival.”

It said timber for domestic use could be transported within The Gambia provided the carriers have authentic permits for household use duly issued by the Department of Forestry.

“With these new rules, The Gambia Ports Authority is hereby instructed to refuse loading for timber logs unto any vessel for export or re-export. Both Gambia Revenue Authority and GPA shall commence the scanning of containers for export and the owners of any containers found with timber logs shall face the fullest penalties according to law,” the government release stated.