200 containers of protected hardwood have been recovered by Gabon out of a larger haul confiscated by authorities earlier in the year and then, went missing.
The announcement, followed a promise from Gabon’s president to punish those responsible for the theft in April of 353 containers of illegally felled Kevazingo wood – worth almost $250 million – from a cache of 392 containers seized at the port of Owendo in late February and early March.
Gabon’s prosecutor – general, Olivier N’zahou says 71 of the missing containers were found on the port premises of Cameroon-registered transport company, SOTRASGAB and 129 were found on the property of company, Owendo Container Terminal (OCT).
Two Chinese nationals are being held in relation to the case, which N’zahou says also involved Gabonese authorities.
“The people detained, and those who are set to be, will be presented before the state prosecutor once the investigation is completed”, N’zahou says, adding that 153 containers still remain unaccounted for.
SOTRASGAB and OCT did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
There is high demand in Asia for wood from the rare Kevazingo tree, which can take 500 years to grow to its full height of 40 meters (130 feet). While forestry is a major industry for Gabon, the Kevazingo is protected by law.
Copyright: News Central TV
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central TV.