Last month, officials from the Department of Forestry and the police made an arrest of over 10 double-feet containers filled with timber logs ready for transportation at the Buffer Zone in Tallinding with one Mr. Conteh alleged to be the owner.
Lamin Dibba, in a statement following engagement with the National Assembly Select Committee on Environment regarding the reported arrest and confiscation of the illegally processed timbers, said the arrest made by the Gambia police and Forestry officials has shown the commitment the Environment Ministry attaches to the protection of the environment.
He added that following the confiscation of the alleged timbers, the Inspector General of Police and other relevant authorities were informed for further collaboration to prevent future illegal processing of timber logs for exportation/importation without going through legal process.
“I personally have to call the Inspector General of Police to inform him about the arrest and confiscation of the timbers logs. This shows how ready we are in working with the police to avoid the unlawful trade of logs in the country.
“And equally both the permanent secretary and the director of the Department of Forestry were instructed to make all necessary litigation at the court,” he said.
According to him, since the start of the exercise by the Department of Forestry in tracing out the number of unwarranted landing site for logs throughout the country, the over 100 spotted unjustified landing sites for timbers were reduced to 20, citing that several arrests were made last year on illegal trade of logs.
“Before, we use to have over 100 landing sites for timbers in the whole country; which was terrible and unlawful. But since the start of the operations to put proper measures on landing site of timber logs, this has now been greatly reduced to 20 identified sites only,” he revealed.
The Environment minister, early last year was alleged by a BBC investigative report on the illegal sale of red timbers from neighbouring Senegal, an allegation he denied, saying he had never met with any dealer about timbers.