News / Africa

Liberian Forestry Chief Suspended over Abuse Allegations

James Butty
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has suspended, without pay, the managing director of the Forestry Development Authority, Moses Wogbeh, following allegations in an upcoming report of abuse in the issuance of Private Use Permits (PUP).  

The report, to be released Tuesday was the work of a consortium of human rights groups including Global Witness, the Sustainable Development Institute of Liberia (SDI) and the Save the Future Foundation.  

Sam Jackson, an independent economic consultant, who reviewed the report’s findings at the behest of the government, said Sirleaf has named a blue ribbon panel to look into the allegations.

“Private Use Permits are basically deeded property belonging to individuals that are then granted to a private operator to be used for logging operations,” he said.

Jackson said there were four active PUPs in February as a result of a request by civil society for an investigation to be conducted into the proliferation of the PUPs, which he said was jeopardizing reforms within the forestry sector.

“So, the Board of Directors met and on February 28th made a decision to cancel all inactive PUPs.  But then, apparently a few weeks ago, Global Witness and SDI that the ones that were considered inactive were now active, and there was again an additional 17 PUPs that had been issued.  And those… cover up to 25 percent of Liberian territory and they blew the alarm,” Jackson said.

He said his preliminary assessment of the upcoming report found that Private Use Permits may have been open to some abuse.

Butty interview with Jackson
Butty interview with Jacksoni
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

“Instead of going into a concession, or what they call into forest management contract, or the timber sale contract, they were using a private deeded property as a means of getting concessions which amounted to the same thing like getting a concession but without paying the same kind of taxes and following the same rules regarding the timber sales contract.  And that’s why Global Witness and SDI made these allegations,” Jackson said.

Jackson said Sirleaf has appointed a blue ribbon panel because, on the surface, it appears something happened in the issuing of Private Use Permits.

“The jury is still out.  Only a complete assessment by this blue ribbon panel will make a determination as to whether there were illegalities and whether these illegalities amounted to environmental degradation,” Jackson said.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: david from: monrovia
September 03, 2012 6:13 PM
too much chronic corruption. something need to be done. no proscecution for some while others are being ill treated. OMG help save of country

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs