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Ghana : Indicators

2012 > 20 Key Indicators 2012 > Information on Forest Law Infractions

There is no official publication of forest offenders, and so no overt way in which previous offenders can be barred from future contract opportunities. Some cases of those who are arrested and/or prosecuted appear in the newspapers, but these tend to focus on small-scale illicit chainsaw operations. There are constitutional bodies such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the Economic and Organised Crime Unit (previously the Serious Fraud Office) that are set up as anti-corruption units. There have not been any publicised reports by these bodies dealing directly with forestry related corruption.

A major issue is tax avoidance. The Forestry Commission (FC) Charter states that “all revenue on fees and charges are collected within 30 days of billing date”, but official reports on revenue disbursements indicate that there are significant arrears in payment by timber contractors. For example, according to the latest report 3.2 million Cedis (approximately US$1.7 million) were owed as at 30 June 2011; nearly half of the total. The FC has not named recalcitrant contractors since attempts to do so in 2003 were met with court injunctions from the Ghana Timber Association. In a communiqué issued following the 2012 National Forest Forum in November 2012, the forum expressed concern over this issue and called on the FC to be more resolute in retrieving stumpage fees from defaulting companies.

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