Top: One of the four container trucks loaded with illegally harvested logs at the FDA Regional Office in Tubmanburg, Bomi County. The DayLight/Emmanuel Sherman
By Emmanuel Sherman
TUBMANBURG, Bomi – The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) has seized four container trucks loaded with round logs that have been illegally harvested in Gbarpolu County.
Joseph Tally, FDA’s deputy managing director for operations, told The DayLight on Sunday that the agency would provide details on Monday but said it was still investigating.
“Right now, we are in pursuit of the [alleged] perpetrators,” said FDA’s Managing Director Mike Doryen, responding to a Facebook user’s allegation that the agency had taken a bribe from the company. “If we wanted [a] bribe, we could have allowed the containers [to] leave, and not to [seize] the logs.” He did not answer calls placed to him.
FDA rangers at the Klay checkpoint arrested the trucks recently after their drivers failed to show permits for the transport, according to sources.
The sources said the rangers later found out that logs were harvested from a forest in the Bopolu District by Reliable Import and Export Company, which has not acquired a logging license. The logs are ekki, an expensive species of wood, currently trading for US$281 per cubic meter on the international market.
The National Forestry Reform Law of Liberia prohibits logging without a contract.
Penalties include the payment of three times the international prices of the species of logs, according to the Regulation on Confiscated Logs, Timber and Timber Products.
Under the regulation, the FDA must confiscate the woods and auction them through two separate court orders.
(This version updates the previous version of the story, adding comments from the Managing Director of the FDA, the name of the company, and details of the woods illegally harvested and their price. We will add details as they unfold)
Henry Gboluma of the Community of Forest and Environmental Journalists of Liberia (CoFEJ) contributed to this report.