Top: The arrested illegal timber dumped at Bahn police station. The DayLight/Mark Newa
By Mark Newa
BAHN – Police in Nimba have arrested a truckload of illegal timber harvested from forests by a businesswoman.
The illegal timber, owned by Binta Bility, were harvested from community forests in the Zoe-Geh and Bu-Yao districts, destined for Ganta when it was stopped earlier this month.
FDA rangers arrested the consignment after they noticed the timber was oversized. Under the Chainsaw Milling Regulation, planks must be not more than two inches thick, 10 or 12 inches wide and at most 14 feet long.
The 79 pieces of the four-inch-thick timber, commonly called kpokolo, were dumped at the main police station. The woods are slightly less thick than the ones Bility illegally harvested in Compound Number One, Grand Bassa County.
Bility said she was not aware of the regulation restricting chainsaw millers to those sizes of planks.
“I agreed to reduce [the woods] to the legal two inches,” Bility told The DayLight via WhatsApp over the weekend. “I don’t intend to do anything illegal.”
Arthur Gweh, the local police commander, and Emmanuel Gbeh, the FDA ranger who carried out the arrest, evaded the interview.
Under the Regulation on Confiscated Logs, Timber and Timber Products, the FDA is required to petition the circuit court in Nimba to auction the woods.
Bility, meanwhile, faces a fine of twice the price of the timber set by the FDA and could face up to 12 months in prison. She has not been punished for the ones she illegally harvested in Grand Bassa, though.
The news comes weeks after the FDA said it uncovered a string of illegal logging activities in Nimba and Gbarpolu and asked the public for their cooperation.