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FDA Axes Illegal Loggers and Wasteful Companies


Top: The headquarters of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in Paynesville. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

By James Harding Giahyue

MONROVIA – The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) has banned a Turkish logging company and barred its shareholders for illegal logging activities in Liberia, the agency said in a press release on Tuesday.

The FDA said Askon Liberia General Trading Limited abused its sawmill license and extracted and exported timber. The agency said it would recommend prosecution for its owners: Hassan, Yetar and Faith Uzan.

“The permit issued required Askon to source logs from legal sources and not engage in the informal harvesting of logs,” the FDA said.  “The investigation into the whereabouts of these individuals will progress, and subsequent actions will be recommended or referred to the justice system of Liberia.”

Askon Illegal operation campsite between Ganta and Sanniquellie, Nimba County. The DayLight/Gerald C. Koinyeneh

Askon’s illegal operations were exposed by The DayLight in March.  The report said Askon ran an illegal operation in Nimba County in which it harvested and smuggled timber in containers. It named Assistant Minister of Trade Peter Somah as an accomplice.  The FDA said it took the report “seriously.”

Hasan Uzan, Askon’s majority shareholder, did not immediately respond to questions for comment on this story.

The FDA also said it took action against logging companies for stockpiling logs across the country.  Companies abandon logs when they do not attend to the woods between three weeks and six months, depending on their location, according to the Regulation on Abandoned Logs, Timber and Timber Products.  

The agency announced it has suspended the harvesting certificates of Mandra Forestry, Ruby Light Forestry and Atlantic Resources. A recent report by The DayLight found Mandra abandoned some 7,000 logs from its contract with the Sewacajua Community Forest. Ruby Light Forestry, which operates in a large concession that extends to Grand Gedeh, has perhaps the largest field of abandoned logs in the country. Holding a logging concession covering Maryland, River Gee and Grand Kru, Atlantic Resources has abandoned a host of logs, including decayed ones in an open field in Greenville, Sinoe County.

This drone photo shows some of Mandra’s abandoned logs outside Greenville, Sinoe County

“This decision is prompted by the failure of these companies to honor the mandate from the FDA to enroll all logs harvested in LiberTrace,” the FDA said. LiberTrace is the system to tracks logs from their sources to final destinations.

Companies that have abandoned logs but do not have harvesting certificates will not be allowed to fell any trees until they export the wood, the FDA said.

The agency said it had initiated actions to confiscate abandoned logs. According to it, the action will deter companies from further harvesting logs without exporting them, one of the most common forestry violations today. Under the law, the FDA must petition a court to confiscate and auction abandoned logs.

“Companies in both categories, suspended certificates and otherwise, may be subject to further [penalties]…,” the FDA said.

Representatives of the three companies did not return WhatsApp messages for their sides of the story. However, in April, Augustine Johnson, Mandra’s manager, falsely argued the logs were not abandoned because they were durable, and that he had already paid the royalties on them. “Before you talk about abandonment. I am expecting a ship to come to Greenville by the second week in next month to get the logs out,” Johnson told The DayLight in a phone interview at the time.

A screenshot of pictures showing decayed logs Atlantic Resources Limited harvested and kept in a log yard in Greenville, Sinoe County. The DayLight/Eric Opa Doue

In January, Massaquoi Robert, a transport supervisor of Ruby Light, too, wrongly argued that the company had abandoned no logs.

“We’re defacing the logs you see there. We have sales contracts right now,” Robert said at the time. “My logs are not rotten. You are not a logger, I say my logs are useful.”

Logging Company In Sinoe Abandons Likely 7,000 Logs

created by dji camera

Top: A drone shot of Mandra`s log yard where hundreds of abandoned logs lay bare in Greenville, Sinoe County. The DayLight/ Derrick Snyder

By Mark B. Newa

GREENVILLE, Sinoe County – Mandra Forestry Liberia, Limited, an Asian company, abandoned an estimated 7,000 logs it harvested between 2019 and 2021,  according to The DayLight’s analysis of official records.

During the period, Mandra produced 6,944 logs but exported none, our analysis of records of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) shows. Mandra harvested the logs in the Sewacajua Community Forest in Sinoe County, where it has operated since 2017.

During the 2019-2020 harvesting season, when the global timber market dipped due to the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S.-China trade war, Mandra harvested over 4,500 logs.

This journalist saw huge heaps of logs at Mandra’s log yard in Greenville in January. A good number of the wood brandishing “Sewacajua,” spread across the quiet field had already decayed. Earthmovers and timber jacks were at different positions.

Under  Regulation on Abandoned Logs, Timber and Timber Products, logs should be declared abandoned when they remain at a location between 15 (three weeks) and 180 working days (about six months). By this definition, Mandra abandoned all the logs in question latest June last year.

Our calculation did not include trees Mandra cut in 2018, some parts of 2019 and last year. The Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) was unclear on Mandra’s production and export figures covering the period. Moreover, the FDA does not publish these records and did not grant The DayLight’s request for the information, a violation of several provisions of forestry legal frameworks. Subsequently, we obtained the information for this story from elsewhere.

Mandra’s abandoned logs are likely to be higher than 6,944. The company co-operates in two large-scale logging concessions in River Cess and Nimba Counties. The LEITI did not separate Mandra’s Sewacajua figures from the two other concessions. A 2020 investigation report by the FDA found that Mandra and its partner EJ &J Investment Corporation abandoned 65 first-class logs in River Cess.

Mandra Plantations Liberia Limited of the Virgin Islands owns Mandra’s largest shares (99.7 percent), according to its article of incorporation. Sio Kai Sing, a Malaysian, holds 0.1 percent of the shares;  Tea Sin Sing, also a Malaysian, has 0.1 percent; and Tang Kwok Ben, a Hong Konger, holds the remaining 0.1 percent. It signed a 15-year agreement with the Secawajua Community Forest, covering 31,986 hectares in Sinoe’s Seekon, Pyne, Wedjah and Juarzon  Districts.  

A collage of logs Mandra abandoned at its log yard in Greenville, Sinoe County. The DayLight/ James Harding Giahyue
Mandra`s campsite in Secawajua, Sinoe County in 2018. The DayLight/ James Harding Giahyue

Abandoned Logs Regulation

Augustine Johnson, a Liberian who serves as Mandra`s general manager, wrongly claimed that the logs in Greenville were not abandoned because they had a long lifespan and that he had already paid taxes for them.

“Before you talk about abandonment. I am expecting a ship to come to Greenville by the second week in next month to get the logs out,” Johnson told The DayLight in a phone interview.

“Apart from logs that are to be shipped, I can take logs for my own domestic use, I can take logs to saw into pieces and even bring it to Monrovia to…build my campsite. The ones that rot are used for domestic purposes,” Johnson added.  

A former FDA geographic information system (GIS) technician, Johnson’s comments are not backed by facts. Payment of taxes is a requirement to obtain a log-export permit. However, taxes have nothing to do with the abandonment of logs. Rather, abandonment largely depends on the time logs stay at a particular location, according to the regulation. For instance, the woods in Mandra’s log yard in Greenville should have only stayed there for 180 days, the same as the ones Johnson said were at the Port of Greenville. Also, the FDA would have to reenter the logs in question into the FDA log-tracking system called LiberTrace.

Johnson is adamant about his wrong understanding or lack of awareness of the regulation. “The logs been there for over 30 working days doesn`t matter, or been there for I80 days it doesn`t matter. They are all Ekki logs with a huge lifespan,” Johnson said and hung up the phone. He had insisted on educating this reporter, not the other way around.

The FDA did not answer questions The DayLight sent to the agency for comment on this story. This journalist sent the email on March 30 to Managing Director Mike Doryen, copying Joseph Tally, his deputy for operations.

The regulation mandates the FDA to investigate the alleged abandonment of the logs in seven days after notification. Thereafter, it must declare the logs abandoned, petition a court to auction the wood and fine the company involved. If the company claims, it must pay administrative fees and redeem them.  The FDA established the regulation in 2017 after provisions of another regulation proved not enough to prevent the waste of forest resources.

But despite years of notifications, including one from within the agency, the FDA has failed to take any legal, public actions. Last year, it said it would begin the process to auction abandoned logs during the dry season but has not done that. The situation has led to a loss of revenue for the Liberian government—and the media.  

A 2020 FDA investigation found companies were abandoning logs because they were harvesting logs without first finding buyers. It also blamed irregular monitoring, lack of logistics for field officers and poor road networks for the problem.

“Logging contract holders are not doing much to minimize the incidence of abandoned logs,” the report said. “Much needed revenue… has been lost due to the unprecedented abandonment of the assorted round logs…”  

The story was a production of the Community of Forest and Environmental Journalists of Liberia (CoFEJ).

FDA Says It Issued ‘Tens’ Of Permits Outside Legal System


Top: Illegal timber production has increased in recent years amid the FDA’s issuance of permits outside the legal system. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

By James Harding Giahyue

MONROVIA – The Forestry Development Authority said it has issued “tens” of export permits outside Liberia’s log-tracking system.

“Tens of these documents have been issued to businesses that have expressed intent to get involved in trading timber and non-timber forest products in Liberia,” said Edward Kamara, the FDA’s manager for forest product marketing and revenue forecast. The DayLight has requested access to all of the permits, a right guaranteed forestry legal frameworks, the Liberian Constitution and the Freedom of Information Act.

Kamara was replying to emailed queries from The DayLight on one of the permits. The DayLight had addressed the email to Managing Director Mike Doryen, copying senior managers.

The FDA issued the permits Kamara referenced outside the chain of custody system or LiberTrace. By law, the FDA must issue all permits within LiberTrace.

“No person shall import, transport, process, or export unless the timber is accurately enrolled in the chain of custody,” according to the National Forestry Reform Law.

A pivotal part of Liberia’s international timber trade, LiberTrace traces the sources of the logs to their final destinations. The computerized system checks the legality of timber, including contracts, transports and payments. LiberTrace’s permits contain barcodes, and companies acquire them on a shipment-by-shipment basis.  

Edward Kamara, FDA’s manager for forest product marketing and revenue forecast, is an architect of export permits awarded outside Liberia’s log-tracking system, whose funds are not remitted into the coffers of the government. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

From the ones published so far, the permits warn their holders to trade only timber from legal sources. William Pewu, the technical manager for the FDA’s commercial department, argued that the caveat was sufficient to deter any wrongdoing.

“This means a permit holder of such a category is acquiring forest products from companies already captured within the chain of custody (CoC) system and by extension LiberTrace.”

But the strategy has not worked. Holders of the documents have engaged in illegal logging activities, particularly in the last three years. The most infamous is the production of squared timber called “kpokolo.” Last month, Kamara said the FDA had banned kpokolo. However, it is yet to officially publish the ban.

The rise of illegal activities has not gone unnoticed by the outside world. Recently, the Associated Press reported Liberia may possess a “parallel” system for the export of illegal timbers. Citing diplomatic sources, the report said officials, including from the FDA, were colluding with illegal loggers to ship stolen timbers. It referenced a letter signed by Doryen permitting a shipment outside the legal system. A previous report quoted an international investigation that blamed the FDA for Liberia’s forestry violations.

This receipt shows Emmanuel Gongor of Tropical Wood Group of Investment paid the FDA US$226 to transport 113 pieces of kpokolo, also called block wood, on May 11, 2022. No records show the fees were paid into the government’s official coffers as mandated by law. FDA awarded Tropical Wood its permit in October 2017 which expired in October of the following year.

Another issue about the permits is that holders do not make payments to the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA). Instead, they pay in accounts at commercial banks, controlled by Doryen. Last year, The DayLight reported payments made by Liberian and Ivorian-owned businesses went into unofficial accounts.

Also, there are no records of payments for the transport of timbers related to the permit. They pay at checkpoints across the country against the Regulation on the Establishment of a Chain of Custody System. The DayLight has published some of the receipts of these illicit transactions known in forestry as waybills.

Kamara, however, claimed it was legal to award the permits outside LiberTrace. “Look into the [National Forestry Reform Law] of 2006 and see where the FDA gets its authority besides the general objectives and the mandates for which the Forestry Development Authority was established,” Kamara said. “We appreciate you all and we understand the anxiousness as we endeavor to satisfy our funding sources by running away with any story without understanding the rationale.”

Karmara and Pewu did not say why the FDA awarded the documents outside the system in the first place. They also did not answer questions about payments made into unofficial accounts. Kamara promised to respond at a later date but backtracked at a recent event in Grand Bassa County.

This story was produced by the Community of Forest and Environmental Journalists of Liberia (CoFEJ).

Illegal Loggers Harvest ‘2,300’ Timbers in Gbarpolu Town


Top: A collage of pictures showing piles of squared timbers Sam Tomosiayah, an illegal logger, harvested in Darmo’s Town in Gbarpolu’s Bopolu District. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

By James Harding Giahyue

Editor’s Note: This story is a part of a series on an illegal logging activity commonly called “Kpokolo.”  

DARMO’S TOWN, Gbarpolu County – Nearly a dozen huge piles of heavy, squared timbers are covered with palm thatches on the side of a road that branches from the Suehn Mecca-Bopolu highway. More, smaller piles are scattered in the forest here.

The woods are actually the products of a logging agreement between a Liberian-Indian company named Raytech International and the people of Darmo’s Town in Gbarpolu’s Bopolu District.

But unlike in a legal logging deal, the company and community did not obtain any rights to sign the deal. The Forestry Development Authority (FDA)—at least—did not officially authorize it. It is part of an illicit logging operation called “kpokolo” that involves shaping the woods like boxes to fit neatly in containers and smuggled out of the country.

Called block wood by the FDA, kpokolo operation thrived in plain sight for years until an apparent ban on the illicit activity in the third quarter of last year. It had become one of the most common forestry violations, particularly in the last three or four years. It harnessed the tide of political neglect in rural communities, the legacies of failed logging contracts, and the ineffectiveness and involvement of the FDA.

In Darmo’s Town, it all started during the rainy season in 2021 when a man on a motorcycle visited the area. Sam Tumosiayah, an agent of Raytech, asked chiefs and elders to grant him access to the forest there. Tumosiayah had established the company in January of that year, according to its article of incorporation.

A pile of squared timbers Sam Tomosiayah, an illegal logger, harvested in Darmo’s Town in Gbarpolu’s Bopolu District. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

In exchange, Tumosiayah, a resident of Somalia Drive in Monrovia, promised the townspeople to repair a major bridge leading in the area among other things.

“Then they agreed to give the landowner their tolls directly. Even our town has received tolls,” said Mamadee Harris, a resident of Darmo’s Town, in an interview with The DayLight.

Peter Vah, the local manager of who Raytech, said the company paid villagers L$100 for each piece of kpokolo measuring six inches in height, 12 inches in width and seven feet in length (6X12X7).  He said the company had not discussed with locals about the 12X12X7 timbers it cut.

Vah said Raytech produced a total of 2,300 pieces of kpokolo in the one year and three months it has worked in Darmo’s Town. “The first batch of kpokolo we produced was 500 pieces and the next one 1,800,”  said Vah, who said his duties included finding trees and supervising the harvesting.  “Nothing has been sold. Some are in the bush, and others in Monrovia.” The DayLight could not independently verify Vah’s figures.

In a mobile interview with The DayLight, Tumosiayah lied that the company had only cut 150 kpokolo in Darmo’s Town. He then diverted from the issue after this reporter presented proof the newspaper had gathered on Raytech’s operation.

Sam Tumosiayah is a representative of Raytech, an illegal logging company that operates in Gbarpolu County.  Facebook/Sam Tumosiayah

Legal Documents

The FDA may have banned kpokolo operations in the third quarter of last year as pressure mounted on the agency to stamp out illegal logging, according to some of the illegal loggers and rangers at a number of FDA checkpoints. Kpokolo first appeared in the news in September last year.

Tumosiayah said he and other kpokolo loggers were appealing to the FDA to lift the ban to allow them to sell thousands of kpokolo left in various forests across the country. “Our business on the market is not going like before. We are catching some difficulties,” he said.  

Tumosiayah thinks his kpokolo operation is legal because his business is registered and pays taxes. “Some people are cheating and defrauding the Liberian government,” he said. “But if you have legal documents to do X,Y,Z, the government will say, ‘Yes, this is a Liberian person.’”

Tumosiayah’s thoughts are not backed by law, as a company needs more than an article of incorporation and a business registration certificate to do logging. It must show the capacity to do logging, sign a contract, conduct an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA), produce forest management plans, and obtain a harvesting certificate. There are also standards for harvest, export and communities’ benefits.

Kpokolo operators such as Raytech International, have harnessed the tide of neglect by successive Liberian governments of rural communities and the failed logging contracts across the country, coupled with the complicity of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) amid enormous forestry violations. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue  

That aside, there are other issues with Raytech’s papers that further expose its forestry violations.  Its article of incorporation only lists Savid Muhammed Kutty (40 percent) and Jilt Joseph (10 percent) as two of its three shareholders. The third shareholder, however, is omitted. Based on its tax-payment history, both men are foreign nationals but the company’s business registration certificate identifies it only as Liberian-owned. And Raytech amended its article of incorporation in Oct last year, according to the tax-payment record. Its new legal documents are not registered at the Liberia Business Registry as of last month and do not reflect the amendment. That is a violation of the Business Association Act, which requires firms to register changes to their legal papers.  

Between June 2, 2021 and January 25 this year, Raytech brought in nine foreign nationals into the country, three of them twice, according to the company’s tax payment records. It made no payments for work permits, despite showing Kutty, Joseph and three of their colleagues obtained non-ECOWAS resident permits at least once. The other three men are Sijomon Verghese, Manilal Sasi and Sinojin Augustine.

In Liberia, shareholding or beneficial ownership, work permit and resident status are crucial to things such as taxes, business rights and logging eligibility. Kutty did not return queries via WhatsApp for comments. Joseph said he was no longer a shareholder in the company, without providing any proof.

Piles of kpokolo Raytech harvested, like this one, are scattered in the forest in Darmo’s Town, Gbarpolu County. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

In our phone interview, Tumusiayah claimed that he was Raytech’s majority shareholder and did not know of the omission. He further claimed that he had gone to the business registry to check the documents and would call The DayLight.  However, efforts to conduct an in-person interview with him did not succeed, and he did not return further calls.

The Managing Director of the FDA Mike Doryen did not reply to an emailed inquiry on the status of kpokolo operations countrywide. However, addressing delegates at a recent forest and climate change forum in Monrovia, Doryen blamed communities for widespread illegal activities. 

“These communities are undermining our efforts to deal with violations,” he said. “People go in the communities and take money from other people to harvest and transport timber to town, harvesting double-board foot outside what is required by law, it is illegal logging,” Doryen added.

While there is plenty of evidence that backs Doryen’s comments, the FDA itself has benefited from the unlawful activities. It collected fees from kpokolo operators for years but there are no records that they remitted them into the government’s coffers. An investigation by The DayLight last month revealed a number of receipts the FDA issued an illegal logger in Ganta, Nimba County. They matched other kpokolo receipts obtained so far. Doryen did not respond to a list of questions at the time.

Violations, Community Benefits Dominate Forest Forum


Top: A drone shot of a log yard in Greenville, Sinoe County. The DayLight/Derick Snyder

By Mark B. Newa

MONROVIA – Forestry violations and delayed payments of benefits to logging-affected communities were the major issues at the just-ended forest conference hosted by the Liberian government.  

The “Forest and Climate Resilience Forum” was expected to reassess the commitment of the Liberian government and the international community to the protection of the country’s rainforest, the largest in the west African region.

The event came on the backdrop of reports of widespread irregularities and impunity in Liberia’s forestry sector. Associated Press recently reported that President George Weah ignored calls from foreign partners to tackle illegalities in the forestry sector.

“Current situation in Liberia`s forest sector is worrying,” said Laurent Delahousse, the head of the European Union (EU) Delegation, at the close of the event over the weekend. “It is characterized by [……] too short rotations, by the lack of proper forest management plans, and by illegal logging, which are real threats to forest regeneration and which affect the commercial and the global value of the forest,” Delahousse added.

On Thursday, the first day of the conference, more than 20 international nongovernmental organizations said the Liberian government was failing to control the illegal logging and undermining the systems in place to control it. They come from China, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Netherlands, Belgium and Finland.

“We call on the government of Liberia to ensure all timber exports go through the LiberTrace, the traceability system, and to close down all existing routes for laundering illegally sourced timber,” the group said in a joint statement.

The Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Mike Doryen brushed off criticisms, promising to grant access to public information. He blamed communities for the situation.  

“Illegal logging activities usually begin with forest communities. These communities are undermining our efforts to deal with violations,” Doryen said.

“People go in the communities and take money from other people to harvest and transport timber to town… outside what is required law, it is illegal logging,” Doryen added. He, however, promised to set up a task force to monitor and regulate unlawful activities in the forestry sector.

Communities’ Benefits

There were a lot of concerns about communities’ benefits during the two days of the event.

European Union Head of Delegation Laurent Delahousse flags illegalities in Liberia’s forest sector during the Forest and Climate Resilience Conference. Photo credit: Mark B. Newa/The DayLight

By law, communities hosting large-scale logging concessions and former small-scale ones set aside exclusively for Liberians, are entitled to 30 percent of the land rental fees companies pay. But this is not the case. The government, which receives the payments, owes communities US$6.6 million. 

Outside the hall at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex, where the event took place, people from those affected communities protested. The protesters carried placards with inscriptions: “Pro-poor for the poor but not against the poor,” “Government of Liberia pays our land rental fees and the forestry law is clear on community benefits, among others.”

“This money is not forthcoming, with at least over US$6 million still outstanding. The little money that has come through was [either] late or meddled in corruption,” said Loretha Pope-Kai the chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, the largest conglomerate of pressure groups in the country.

“Our forest communities live on the forest for their cultural, social, economic, and all other needs. Forests are therefore key to all considerations of Liberia’s… future,” Pope-Kai added, receiving huge applause.  

National Benefit Sharing Trust (NBST), a watchdog that oversees communities benefits,  said the delayed payment made it difficult for the group to function. It is largely funded by payments communities get. It has spent US$1.8 million on 53 projects nationwide, it reported last year.

“Funding gap is undermining the long-term sustainability of the NBST,” Kollie said.

The theme of the two-day forum was “Catalyze renewed commitments and strengthen partnerships in sustainable forest management as key strategies supporting the Government of Liberia’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).”

Liberia To Host Forest and Climate Event


Top: A drone photograph of a log yard in Greenville, Sinoe County. The DayLight/Derick Snyder

By Mark B. Newa

MONROVIA – Liberia is hosting an international forest and climate conference, expected to reassess the commitment of the Liberian government and the international community to the protection of the country’s rainforest, the largest in the west African region. The event comes amid widespread irregularities and impunity in Liberia’s forestry sector.   

“Liberia remains committed to the global climate change agenda,” President George Weah said in the State of the Nation Address on Monday, announcing the event, which will take place on Wednesday at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.

“We are looking to improve governance of the forest sector and move toward a more effective management of our forest reserves, to help us transition to a better model of climate finance,” Weah said. He added Liberia is working to enlarge its protected areas and was committed to reducing reliance on commercial logging.

Delegates expected to attend the conference include envoys from the World Bank, and the ministers of environment and forests from Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Cote d`Ivoire are also expected to attend. The climate change special envoy of Norway—the country that provided Liberia with US$150 million to combat deforestation—and the Norwegian ambassador to Liberia are also expected to attend, organizers of the event say. The same goes for the European Union, which has had a logging trade agreement with Liberia since 2011, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom.

Liberia hosts 43 percent of the last two significant blocks of the remaining closed canopy tropical rainforest within the Upper Guinea Forest, West Africa’ spanning from Ghana, Cote d`Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo. Liberia has committed to conserving 30 percent of the existing forested areas of the country.

“There are doubts from some partners that Liberia is not moving in this direction, but the forest law says we should put under conservation at least 30 percent of all our remaining forest estates to conservation,” Saah David, Jr., the national coordinator of REDD+, one of the organizers of the event. REDD+ means reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

“The forum will be used as means to now push partners to also recommit to helping Liberia helps itself,” David added.

The conference, which was rescheduled from October last year, will feature experiences from Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Ghana, a country that has just been enrolled into the global carbon financing program.  Ghana is now the second country in Africa after Mozambique to receive payments from the World Bank for reducing its carbon emission.

The conference comes at a time the Liberian forestry sector is marred by illegalities. Associated Press recently reported that President George Weah ignored calls from foreign partners to tackle the illegalities in the forestry sector. The investigation report highlighted illegalities in the forestry sector. Liberia failed the natural resource management component of the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC), an American agency that measures countries’ economic policies and potential for growth.  

The report said Weah had ignored calls from the international community to address forestry non-compliance, saying they were “nonsense.”

The low budgetary allotment has been another issue. In the 2021/2022 fiscal year, the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) received just below US$2.9 million, more than 90 percent of which is employees’ salaries.

But there has been some progress made in the sector. Liberia has created the Sapo National Park, the East Nimba Nature Reserve, Lake Piso Multiple Use Reserve, and the Gola National Forest. It has begun the establishment of proposed protected areas: Kpo, Krahn-Bassa Foya and others.

CEO Emails FDA Lawyer Boasting of Impunity over Illegal Logging


Top: One of the logs Masayaha, Magna’s partner, illegally harvested in a forest in Compound Number One, Grand Bassa County, is seen next to its stump. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

James Harding Giahyue

  • Morley Kamara, the CEO and owner of Magna Logging Incorporated emailed The DayLight, bragging not to be bothered by stories the newspaper publishes about his company’s violations
  • Kamara copies Cllr. Yanquoi Dolo, FDA’s lawyer, responsible to help prosecute forestry violators
  • Kamara’s Magna and Masayaha, its Lebanese-owned partner, have committed several offenses over the last three years—from an illegal subcontract to cutting trees outside their contract area

MONROVIA – The CEO and owner of a company has emailed The DayLight to boast that he was not bothered by revelations of the firm’s wrongdoings, copying the in-house lawyer of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).

“These stories do not move me one bit,” said Morley Kamara of Magna Logging Corporation, sharing the communication with Cllr. Yanquoi Dolo, who helps the FDA prosecute forestry violators.

“You’re missing your mark,” Kamara added, the email in which he also copied Ali Harkous, Masayaha’s CEO and owner.

Kamara was referring to a series of investigation reports The DayLight published last year that revealed a number of logging offenses the Liberian-owned firm and Masayaha Logging Company, its Lebanese partner, committed.

The FDA failed to take any actions against the companies despite overwhelming evidence of violations revealed in the four-part series, appearing between September and October last year.

The first story exposed a string of illegal logging operations outside the Worr Community Forest in Grand Bassa County, its contract area between 2020 and 2021. It featured interviews from chiefs and elders who participated in the activities, voice WhatsApp conversations with an FDA executive and a resident, and a report from SGS on the same offenses. SGS is a Swiss firm globally acclaimed in the verification industry. It created Liberia’s log-tracking system known as the LiberTrace.

Two illegally harvested logs Masayaha Logging Company left behind in the Garkpa Charlie Town in Compound Number One, Grand Bassa County. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

The second story showed that Masayaha abandoned some 600 logs it had harvested during the same period of its illegal harvesting spree.

The third story covered villagers’ protest against Masayaha for their forest benefits, stopping the company from operating. The company has now paved a new road and repaired a clinic building in the community in response to the villagers’ demands.

The last part of the series uncovered the illegality of a subcontract between Magna and Masayaha. The two had signed their deal unknown to the leadership of the community, a breach of the Community Rights Law of 2009 with Respect to Forest Lands. Villagers must participate in such deals, according to one of the law’s guiding principles.

That story also shed light on Magna’s capacity to conduct logging activities, having transferred its full logging right to Masayaha, less than a year after signing its agreement with the leadership of Worr Community Forest.

By law, Magna and Masayaha should have paid different fines for stealing logs and abandoning others.

The ‘Kpokolo’ Kingpin: How FDA Created A Serial Illegal Logger


Top: Emmanuel Gongor poses before a stockpile of illegal block wood, commonly called “kpokolo.” Photo credit: Facebook/ Emmanuel Gongor

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part report on the operations of an infamous illegal logger, based in Nimba County. It is also a part of a broader series on a criminal logging activity commonly called “Kpokolo.”   

By Mark B. Newa

GANTA, Nimba County – On one sunny day in Karnwee late last year, forest rangers and police officers seized a truck with 80 pieces of boxlike timber, ending an hourlong chase all the way from Bahn, where the woods had been harvested.

Emmanuel Gongor, a middle-height man, arrived on the scene shortly on a motorcycle taxi, appearing shocked. This was not the first time Gongor had transported block wood, commonly called “Kpokolo” in the logging industry. For years he passed checkpoints without any problems. Sometimes he sold the wood to other companies or individuals in Liberia. Other times, he exported them.

Things had suddenly changed. Gongor learned that the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) had banned Kpokolo, derived from the sound the wood makes when it falls or “thick and heavy” in the Kpelle language. His woods were dumped by a roadside.

“We have been so committed, but if we cannot understand, we will seek the legal process by taking the FDA to the circuit court,” a furious Gongor told The DayLight in a phone interview days after the incident. He expected to get US$7,000 from the consignment and settle all of his holiday expenses.  

Gongor does not have a logging contract and his timber surpass the dimension defined in the Chainsaw Milling Regulation. His woods are between five and 10 inches thick, up to five times the required measurement of two inches. In photos posted to Gongor’s Facebook page, several men can be seen trying to lift the timber.   

But interviews and documents show that the FDA has been aware of Gongor’s illegal logging activities for half of a decade. In fact, the agency has unlawfully received fees from him. Some of his waybills seen by The DayLight amounted to over US$1,500.

Those payments sanctioned the 48-year-old to rip off forests from central Nimba to the Cote d’Ivoire border. Nimba lost 315,000 hectares of tree cover between 2001 and 2021. That makes it second only to Bong County (363,000 hectares), according to Global Forest Watch, a tool that monitors the state of forests across the world.  

‘Emmanuel, The Investor’

Gongor was an accomplished miner. He panned and sieved for gold on a number of goldfields in  Gbarpolu,  Grand Kru and Grand Gedeh.

He started up in the logging industry in 2017 as a chainsaw miller, pit-sawyers or plank producer. Soon he saw that he could make more money from harvesting kpokolo.

“Block wood is preferable because for normal sawing at times, we take 500 pieces of timber to be a truckload, but for block wood, some are just 150-200 pieces,” Gongor explained. “For the past six years now, I have been on that operation.”

Gongor was hired by a Turkish-owned firm called Tropical Wood Group of Companies, which obtained a one-year permit from the FDA to buy and sell. The permit was issued by Darlington Tuargben, the FDA Managing Director at the time. The legality verification department (LVD), a unit of the FDA that manages its log-tracking system called the chain of custody, said it has no record of the company. Efforts to contact Abdulla Aklan, the company’s owner, were not successful. Tuargben did not respond to queries.

Emmanuel Gongor’s 80 illegal block woods, commonly called “Kpokolo” were arrested in Karnwee, near Saclepea. Picture credit: Emmanuel Gongor

Gongor conquered the kpokolo black market. He broke out with his employer and established Tropical Wood Group of Investment. Though he is yet to register it as a legal entity, he continues his criminal deals with the new firm.

His network spans four of the nine districts in Nimba: Zoe-Gbao, Zoe-Geh, Bu-Yao and Gbelay-Geh in the central and eastern regions of the county. He boasts of a workforce of 25 people and a host of villagers and disadvantaged youth or “zogoes.” They do everything from locating forested communities to finding trees and from negotiating with local landowners, to harvesting, hauling and transporting. With 30 chainsaws, they have built wooden bridges, and town halls and have repaired schools and clinics in forested towns and villages.  

Videos recorded by Gongor show him taking stock of trees he had negotiated with villagers to harvest in  Tahnplay, and celebrating the completion of projects.  “We finally completed the bridge connecting Kanhplay to Sehyi Town in Gbelay-Geh Statutory District,” Gongor can be heard saying in one video. “Together with the youth, elders, and chiefs, we were able to complete the first phase of operation.”

Townspeople in the areas Gongor works revere him. His name goes beyond the reach of logging companies in that region, many of whom have failed to fulfill their social agreements with communities.

“We call him Emmanuel The Investor,”Arkey Vasiee, town chief of Zortapa.  

In March last year, James Zuorpeawon, Gbehlay-Geh’s development superintendent, issued him a permit to operate in the area. It authorizes Gongor to present the document “for awareness and protection during his operation within the district.”   

Gongar and villagers pose for a picture following the construction of a bridge in Karnplay, Nimba.

Other kpokolo loggers across the country also respect Gongor. 

“This place is small for him, he can’t even come here again,” said a plank producer from Gompa Wood Field in Ganta, who preferred not to be named. Gongor had milled planks there prior to venturing into kpokolo.

“Gongor is one of the most skillful kpokolo operators,” said James Kelley, a kpokolo logger in Gbaryama in Gbarpolu’s Bopolu District. Kelley said he had worked with him in Kinjor, Grand Cape Mount County.

Gongor does not depend on his fame—or notoriety—to run his business. He advertises on Facebook. “[If you are] interested in this Iroko table, you can WhatsApp me on this number,” a November 27, 2020 post reads, featuring a flat piece of log on a stick like a table. “If anyone is interested in buying teak wood, just contact me on my contact number,” reads a March 10, 2021 post. Both Iroko and teak logs are durable woods used for outdoor purposes. His accounts also showcase selfie pictures of him with men loading giant-sized block wood onto trucks.  

But Gongor would not have been this successful without the FDA. Receipts of their transactions show he has paid the FDA tens of thousands of United States Dollars in waybill, fees imposed on transported timber. One September 2017 receipt shows that he paid the FDA L$18,000 for 300 pieces of kpokolo. Another in May last year reveals he paid US$424 for 121 pieces.

One document shows Gongor’s invoice to a firm in Hong Kong to export 125 cubic meters of sawn timber with a height and width of 50 centimeters (approximately 20 inches) and length of seven feet. He had a deal to export timber from the Freeport of Monrovia to the Port of Chittagong in Bangladesh, according to one invoice.

“The FDA agents are always informed when we are going to bring wood from the bush,” Gongor told The DayLight.

“We make more money for forestry. Our own percentage to the FDA is different from the normal [pit-sawing].”  He was speaking in reference to the US$0.60 toll on a plank compared to US$2 on kpokolo, according to waybills FDA issued him, seen by The DayLight.

Emmanuel Gongor takes a selfie with men loading block wood in a truck. Facebook/Emmanuel Gongor

The fees the FDA received from Gongor are illegal in a number of ways. First, the payments he has made to the FDA do not go to the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), the company’s tax-payments record shows. In addition to possessing no contract, the villages where he operates do not have any legal rights to engage in logging deals. And the timber he harvests or exports does not pass through the legal channel, as mandated in the National Forestry Reform Law and the Regulation on Establishing a Chain of Custody System.     

Gongor’s kpokolo waybills have also shined a light on FDA’s shady plank tolls system. Fees the agency collects from planks dealers are not made public as required by forestry’s legal frameworks, including Liberia’s Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union. They are neither paid to the LRA nor captured in the reports of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI). The FDA has retained these fees for years,  a breach of the financial provision of the reform law.

FrontPage Africa reported in 2020 that the Klay checkpoint in Bomi collected over L$500,000 in just one month. It said that there was a wrangle within the FDA over the management of the funds, adding that the fees went into a mobile money account belonging to Edward Kamara, FDA’s forest product marketing manager. Kamara coordinates fees collected at checkpoints countrywide.

Nimba, Region III FDA agent in Ganta issued a waybill for 212 pieces of Kpokolo on July 5, 2022 
Emmanuel Gongor of Tropical Wood Group of Investment paid the FDA US$226 to transport 113 block wood on May 11, 2022
One of Emmanuel Gongor’s earliest receipts from the FDA for block wood, shows he paid L$9,485 to transport 55 pieces of the illegal timber on October 28, 2017.
This latest FDA receipt shows Gongor paid the agency US$80 for 40 pieces of kpokolo on May 11, 2022.
One of Tropical Wood Group of Companies’ illegal export documents obtained by The DayLight

Ironically, while the FDA secretly collects fees from Gongor, it has asked the public to assist it to combat illegal logging activities. The FDA said in a release last November that it had intercepted four container trucks trafficking timber from western Liberia. That statement followed a similar one three months earlier after rangers in Bomi and Gbarpolu arrested three trucks with logs illegally harvested.  

Earlier this month, the Monrovia City Court issued an arrest warrant for a former police commander, an ex-envoy and eight people in the Bomi-Gbarpolu incident. The FDA is seeking court orders in the counties to auction the logs, the first such step since the formulation of Regulation on Confiscated Logs, Timber and Timber Products.

‘I am over hurt’

Gongor feels betrayed in all of this, believing he is a victim rather than the villain he actually is. For the last six years, the FDA has sanctioned his operations and accepted his payments like a typical chainsaw miller.  He finds nothing wrong with producing Kpokolo.  

“It would have been good for the FDA to formally inform those involved in the business before ordering us to stop the harvest and sale of block wood in the country,” Gongor said.

“I am over hurt. We have been issued hundreds of waybills. We always pay a huge sum of money to these guys,” he added.

In December, nearly a month after his consignment of timber was seized, Gongor transported them to Ganta. They were again seized and are being kept at the Gompa Wood Field.

The FDA is yet to take the required legal actions to confiscate Gongor’s timber. Under the confiscated timber regulation, The FDA should petition the circuit court in Sanniquellie to auction the wood. Both Arthur Gweh, the commander of Nimba County police detachment in Bahn, and Emmanuel Gbeh, the FDA ranger who arrested the wood, declined to comment.

By law, Gongor should face a lawsuit for his illicit activities, and if convicted he could pay a fine, serve a prison term, or both. It is a crime for a non-contract holder to harvest timber, punishable under the Penal Code as economic sabotage.

The FDA’s Managing Director Mike Doryen did not respond to emailed queries.  

Impact: Arrest Warrant for Members of Illegal Logging Network Exposed by The DayLight


Top: The Temple of Justice in Monrovia. Picture credit: Reuters/James Harding Giahyue

By Gabriel M. Dixon

MONROVIA – The Monrovia City Court has issued an arrest warrant for 10 people for their alleged involvement in unlawful logging activities, first revealed to the public in an investigation by The DayLight.   

They include Dawoda Sesay, a former police commander, Varney Marshall, a former ranger with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), and Beomjin Lee, a Korean national. 

They have been charged with property theft, forgery, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, criminal facilitation and bribery. A police inquest found the men felled a number of first-class logs in Gbarpolu County and attempted to ship them through the Freeport of Monrovia.   

“These people will go in the bushes fell the trees, cut the logs, and use bogus documents in order to evade taxes, and will use those documents to ship the containers of logs out of Liberia,” Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue told a news conference last week.

The DayLight had broken the story and went on to assist the police in their investigation, providing them with important pieces of information that would lead to the charges.

The newspaper, which focuses on environmental investigations, first published on 14th August last year that the FDA had arrested three container trucks loaded with illegally harvested timber nearly a month earlier.

The paper would go on to publish a detailed account of the illicit activity that same month, naming members of the syndicate and the role they played in the illegal harvest. Not long after that, the FDA petitioned the circuit courts in Bomi and Gbarpolu to auction the logs, orders it is yet to be granted.

The DayLight also published a leaked video, revealing Marshall’s own illegal logging operations. Marshall can be held in the video complaining over his accomplice’s attempt to cheat him while filming huge piles of boxlike wood, commonly called “Kpokolo.” Pictures apparently taken by another accomplice show the depth of Marshall’s criminal operations, including loads of containers of kpokolo.

On Monday, the FDA announced it has dismissed Marshall, citing the report and charges against him at the Monrovia City Court. “A video circulated on social media and reported by The DayLight online media captured Mr. Marshal’s open engagement in illegal logging activities, a vice he was hired to prevent and combat,” the FDA said in a statement. It added that Marshall had admitted in an inhouse probe.

FDA also said it has suspended Edward Jallah without pay, another FDA ranger captured in The DayLight’s initial report that eventually led to the city court’s charges.

Editor’s Pick: Our Best Stories in 2022


Top: A collage showing investigations published by The DayLight in 2022. The DayLight/Gabriel Dixon

MONROVIA – This year has been very eventful for The DayLight. We produced some very revealing investigations, particularly in the forestry sector. They include violations of all sorts: conflict of interest, illegal logging and wildlife poaching.

Our stories led to at least one official inquest and two court cases. They put the forestry industry under the spotlight for accountability and transparency, apparently led to administrative actions within the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), and uncovered certain illegal logging activities commonly called “Kpokolo.” We even lifted the lid on abandoned logs across the country.

As the year draws to an end, we take a look at our best stories:  

Park Beautiful But Breaks Airport Safety Standards

The Invincible park shines with beauty but goes against international aviation safety regulations. Picture credit: Knewsonline

In this April piece, Gabriel M. Dixon exposes how President George Weah’s much-loved Invincible Park, built at the foot of the James Spriggs Payne Airfield,  breaches international aviation standards. Citing the rules and regulations of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), the article showed the facility is a beautiful nuisance. Draped in the exposure of Weah’s inconsistent comments in the buildup to the park’s dedication, the story features a history of accidents at the airport and its 6,000-foot runway’s relevance to Liberia’s troubled political history.

It is our most-read story with more than 4,555 readers as of writing time.

Akewa: The Nigerian Company Breaking Liberian Laws Unpunished

Akewa Group of Companies has been involved in illegal logging for over a decade now. Picture credit: Facebook/Akewa Group of Companies

Editor-at-large Emmanuel Sherman and Managing Editor James Harding Giahyue started the year on a very high note, investigating a bundle of violations by Akewa Group of Companies.

The January investigation exposes very serious offenses committed by the company as well as the failure of the FDA to enforce forestry laws and regulations. They include lying under oath, forging another company’s tax clearance, prolonging indebtedness to communities and illegal issuance of contracts meant solely for Liberian companies.  

FDA Fails to Punish Firm For Chain of Illegal Logging

A scene of Masayaha’s illegal logging operation outside the Worr Community Forest in Compound Number One, Grand Bassa County. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

Editor-at-large Emmanuel Sherman tells a tale of Masayaha’s illegal logging activities. The Lebanese-owned company harvested an unspecified number of logs outside its contract area in Compound Number One, Grand Bassa County. Evidence Sherman gathered—interviews, pictures and official reports—shows Masayaha felled trees in several communities far away from the Worr Community Forest it is, in practice, entitled to.

Sherman and our Director/Managing Editor James Harding Giahyue would expose the company’s other wrongdoings, including an illegal transfer of its logging rights from Magna, a Liberian-owned firm, its indebtedness to communities and abandonment of nearly 600 logs.

Foya Plants Trees to Defeat Deforestation

Rain sets over a village in Foya, Lofa County. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

James Harding Giahyue tells us how a collaboration among villagers, local authorities, civil society, the private sector and an international nongovernmental organization is putting Foya on the cusp of victory against deforestation.

Trees have been replanted on riverbeds and where there was savannah, with crops thriving. A large group of farmers is returning to swamplands and producing rice threefold. All of this is happening with locals having formalized ownership of their land.

Foya may have surrendered its breadbasket profile to the marauding savannah grass fueled by climate change but it is getting it back.

Inside Liberia’s Pangolin Scales Smuggling Syndicate

Pangolin scales in Bopolu, Gbarpolu County. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

In a four-year investigation covering nine counties, The DayLight sheds light on a network that traffics pangolin scales out of Liberia. It names and shames major actors of the illicit trade and exposes the organization of the cabal as well as its trafficking routes. 

Woman Runs Illegal Logging Operation

Illegal timber or “Kpokolo” harvested by Binta Bility, a businesswoman, in Compound Number One, Grand Bassa County. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

The unlawful operation in Grand Bassa County of Binta Bility, a businesswoman, was exposed in this September investigation.  The article showed that Bility produced block wood, which has come to be known in the industry as “Kpokolo.”

Having initially denied she ran the kpokolo operation in Compound Number One and somersaulted to confirm she was the one, Bility has vowed to cease her illicit activities. But the law requires she is punished.

Minister Breaks Law with Shares in Mining and Logging Company   

Logs illegally harvested by Universal Forestry Corporation, co-owned by Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Cooper Kruah, are seen in the Sehzueplay Community Forest. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

This late June investigation, the first of a three-part series, reveals the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Cooper Kruah is involved in a conflict of interest with shares in Universal Forestry Corporation (UFC). The company has held about a dozen mining licenses and one logging contract since Kruah became a minister in February 2018.

Kruah established UFC back in the 1980s and retains his five-percent stake in the company even after he was appointed to his ministerial post in February 2018. Kruah admits he holds the shares but claims he turned them over to a relative, which still contravenes a number of Liberian laws, including the Constitution.

The second part of the series uncovers Kruah and UFC unlawfully subcontracted their agreement with a community forest in Nimba and harvested a number of logs without authorization.

The third and final part of the series will focus on UFC’s mining violations.

Company Cuts US$2M Logs Outside Concession

Sing Africa harvested a huge number of logs outside its contract area in Zorzor, Lofa County. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

Another bombshell in June, this first of a two-part series exposes a Singaporean company that cut some US$2.2 million logs outside its contract area in Balagwalazu in Lofa’s Zorzor District.

Sing Africa had rejected the particular portion of forestland where it felled the trees in 2016 when it signed an agreement with the Bluyeama Community Forest.  However, that patch of the forest has a good number of first-class logs, and the company secretly harvested them. 

At the same time, the second part of the series shows Sing Africa also abandoned an estimated 2,500 logs. 

FDA Managing Director Mike Doryen said at the time:  “Eventually, we are going to take some actions [against Sing Africa]. We are in a better position now to be faster.”

Doryen suspended and replaced the FDA ranger responsible for Grand Bassa after the story was published. However, no actions have been taken against the company.

Another Company Illegally Cuts 550 Logs in River Cess

African Wood and Lumber harvested logs in the Gbarsaw and Dorbor Community Forest in River Cess without authorization. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

African Wood and Lumber Company, owned by an Italian businessman, harvested 550 logs in a River Cess community forest, this July article reveals.

Cesare Colombo’s company felled the trees in the Norwein District without a harvesting certificate, a violation of the National Forestry Reform Law.

The Forestry Development Authority (FDA), infamous for its complicity in the sector, suspended and replaced its staff responsible for River Cess after the publication. It made no reference to The DayLight’s investigation, though.

Ex-diplomat and Police Commander Involved in Illegal Logging Activities

Police commander Dawoda Sesay and Richmond Anderson, an ex-envoy at the Liberian Consulate in South Korea, are being held for illegal logging. Picture credit: Facebook/Dawoda Sesay.

This August investigation by Gabriel Dixon (Henry Gboluma and Mohammed Sheriff) exposes a log-trafficking network comprising a former envoy, a policeman, illicit loggers, middlemen and villagers. It all came to light when The DayLight published

People named in the investigation and an FDA ranger whose illegal activities were exposed in a leaked video are being investigated. And the FDA has petitioned courts in Bomi and Gbarpolu to confiscate and auction the illegal timber and vehicle used to transport them.

FDA Managers Issue Illegal Export Permits

Some of the teak woods Rosemart Inc. exported from the illegal permit the FDA awarded it. The DayLight

In our biggest report of the year, The DayLight exposes FDA Managing Director Mike Doryen and top managers of the agency award export permits outside of the legal channel.

The October investigation proved that Doryen and co have collected fees from two companies—Rosemart  Inc. and Porgal Enterprise Inc.—but have not accounted for the funds. It also sheds light, particularly, on the illegal operations of Rosemart, which has operated illegally for a number of years in Nimba County. A follow-up article uncovers the company has shipped US$100,000, citing the illegal permits we obtained.

FDA’s attempt to deny the report did more harm than good. It claimed that Générale de Surveillance (SGS), the Swiss firm that established Liberia’s log-tracking system, rejected Rosemart’s logs. However, SGS refuted that claim.

Also, Gertrude Nyaley, the technical manager for FDA’s legality verification department (LVD) overseeing the log-tracking system, denied knowledge of Rosemart’s permits.