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Transporting Pangolin is Illegal: Forestry Commission


 
The forestry commission had a press briefing on transporting PANGOLIN from Nigeria through Ghana to Malaysia illegally.
Nana Kofi Nsiah, the executive director, Wildlife division, emphasized that, on June 16, 2017, a publication by the Associated Press (AP) published a news item that the Malaysian Custom officials have seized nearly 400 kilograms scales worth $ 1.2 million Dollars from Ghana; the second of such seizure in a week at the Kuala Lumpur Airport transported by the Turkish Airlines.
Mr. Nsiah in an interview with the media disclosed, “Pangolin is classified as one of the endangered species banned globally by the convention on International Trade in Endangered species of wild Fauna and Flora (cities)”. It is an Appendix 1 species. CITIES also known as Washington convention (3rd March 1973) is an international agreement which Ghana is a signatory. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants do not threaten their survival. Locally, it is classified as a schedule 1 species which is completely protected (from hunting, capturing, or destroying prohibited always).
The increased demand for these weak creatures has seen an estimated one million pangolins removed from Asian and African Forests over the past decade bringing their numbers to critical low.
The intelligence unit of the Narcotics Control Board also picked the information and worked on it. On 27th July 2017, the Agent whose name came during investigations as Prosper Kumako, was arrested and sent to the office of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) for interrogations. He admitted having facilitated the exportation of the Pangolin Scales from Ghana to Malaysia. The last but one was 5th June 2017. He further admitted that in all these exports, it was named “OYSTER SHELLS”.
Prince Anim, an accomplice who used his documents to facilitate the exportation, was arrested the same day and during interrogations, he admitted having used his documents to do the exportations. Prosper mentioned one Robert Konu as the owner who brought the Pangolin Scales to be exported on all three occasions.
He said; on 29th July 2017 Robert Konu was arrested and during interrogations he admitted exporting the seized Pangolin Scales to Malaysia and the other two mentioned earlier. He also mentioned that the total number of exports he has done is five; 2 in 2016 and 3 this year.
The 2016 exports were done through his deceased brother Philip Konu. He further stated that he gave the name on the document as oyster shells on all occasions though he knew it was Pangolin Scales. It was after the death of Philip that he solicited the assistance of Prosper for the continuation of the exportation.
Robert mentioned Lee, a Chinese, as his source of supply. According to him, Lee sends him the stock through an accomplice in Nigeria. Robert facilitates the exportation from Ghana to Malaysia.
Robert, since his arrest, is currently assisting the Criminal Investigations Department(CID) of the Ghana Police Service with further investigations.
Mr. Nsiah said, “It is becoming evidently clear that some of the wildlife traffickers are using Ghana as a Transit destination to operate their nefarious activities. We would like to send a message to them that they have no place in Ghana. We will smoke them out. We are going to intensify our collaborations with the customs, Police NACOB, Airport Officials, informants and our intelligence networks to combat this crime. We will plead with all of you to join us in combating wildlife crime in Ghana. Thank you.”
 By Kofi Dwumah
 

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