Liberia timber loophole exploited, says watchdog
Wednesday 05 September 2012
International logging companies have used a loophole in Liberian law which grants them access to as much as one-quarter of Liberia's landmass, according to a watchdog.
Global Witness said in a report that foreign companies are relying on so-called "Private Use Permits", designed for use by private landowners to allow them to cut trees on their own property.
These permits are instead being used by major companies and now cover 40% of the country's forests, according to the report which was co-authored by the Save My Future Foundation and the Sustainable Development Institute.
Companies holding the permits are not required to log sustainably, and pay little compensation to the government for the right to export the timber.
They include companies linked to Malaysian logging giant Samling, which along with its subsidiaries has been involved in cases of alleged illegal logging in countries around the world from Cambodia to Guyana to Papua New Guinea.
Today, Samling said that it was "surprised" by Global Witness's report, adding that Samling "does not have a presence in Liberia".
Over the weekend, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf suspended the head of the country's forestry authority, Moses Wogbeh.
Presidential spokesman Jerolinmek Piah told the AP on Monday that Mr Wogbeh is under investigation into an allegation that he violated a land permit issuance moratorium put in place in February.
Such a permit grants land to people to carry out logging activities commercially.
On Tuesday after the report came out, Liberian information minister Lewis Brown thanked London-based Global Witness for drawing attention to the issues.
He said: "The Private Use Permits have been considered in the past to assist communities in terms of job creation, in terms of support and benefit - but the truth is, we are finding out also, that it has been abused and it is unacceptable."
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart bromance continues: X-Men star gushes about 'pussy cat' BFF Patrick Stewart
David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Catherine Deneuve and Sophie Marceau in war of words over President Francois Hollande's affair with Julie Gayet
Inside North Korea with the man who won the marathon
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 KFC 'sorry' after lesbian couple are kicked out of Bath restaurant for 'heavy petting'
- 2 West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker Dylan Tombides has died after battle with cancer
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 5 PFA Player of the Year: Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard all nominated as Liverpool dominate award shortlist
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...