The Cameroon government is intensifying efforts against illegal forest exploitation in the country with multiplication of heavy sanctions against defaulters.
The National Control Brigade for Control Operations of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife has published its register of litigations for the first quarter of 2016.
The report reveals that four logging companies (SITAF, SCDC, South & FILS, SOFIE), had their licenses temporarily suspended, 35 others warned, with over 54.2 million FCFA generated as fines from illegal forestry activities.
The companies are accused of fraudulent forest exploitation and the non-respect of provisions. Some 10 companies also had their exploitation licenses suspended. They were Horizon Bois, Martial & Cie, Atlas Commercial, FC PATRUD, FC NKADA KPABO de DONGOGO, FC WOUSS, FC HE KEN MBOUMBOU, FC forêt communautaire and FC GIC Ne KIDONG.
The figures were presented to the press in Yaounde on August 4, 2016. The register is published at the end of each quarter and signed by Wildlife and Forestry Minister. It presents illegal forest exploitation offences with sanctions meted on erring companies. Two registers have been published this year. It emerged that after consulting with national controllers who records of offence statements and data collected from external services, as well as the opinion of the legal unit of the Ministry.
The sanctions were part of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement that binds Cameroon and the European Union, with focus on addressing illegal logging to improve forest governance and promoting trade in legal timber products to EU markets.
The Head of the National Control Brigade for Control Operations, Ella Ondoua Ambroise Rodrigue, said the suspensions would be lifted if the logging companies paid fines levied on them.
It is not the first time that the sledge hammer of the ministry of forestry and wildlife is falling on defaulters in the forestry sector