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Forest Attribution Commission Told To Shun Corruption 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai — The Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, MINFOF, Philip Ngole Ngwese, has called on members of the inter-ministerial commission for the attribution of forest exploitation concessions to avoid corruption.

He made the call in Yaounde on July 16 while opening the session of the work of the commission that would span 15 days. During the period, the commission is expected to scrutinise some 62 files for the attribution of 19 forest concessions for exploitation or conservation in the Ngoyla Mintom forest massif.

Ngole Ngwese told commission members that they were meeting at a time when many are looking at and have identified the forestry sector as one of the most vulnerable to rampant corruption. Cautioning commission members to avoid the evil practice of corruption, he urged them to take up the challenge and rather send a different message to those who are observing them.

The Minister called on them to show proof of transparency, a high sense of responsibility, impartiality and moral probity as any shortcomings observed on their part would be considered as [deliberate] obstacles to the engagement taken by public authorities in matters of sectoral governance.

Ngole Ngwese observed that because the mission of the inter-ministerial commission goes hand-in-hand with field activities, it must play a major governance role in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife. The Minister, particularly, called on the Chairman of the Commission, Denis Koulagna Kotou, who is also the Secretary General in MINFOF, to ensure that the work is done with maximum seriousness.

“You have to ensure that tender files to be selected at the end of the process are those which would guarantee sustainable management or conservation as the case may be, of attributed forest concession in the ecological, technical, social, economic and financial domains,” said the Minister. He urged the commission members to be vigilant in order not to allow economic operators in the sector [noted for trampling on the laws and regulations of the Republic] to sail through.

It was noted that the call to tender launched on May 30, 2012, for the attribution of the 19 forestry concessions is the very last of the forest management units set aside since the year 2000. It is the first time the Government of Cameroon is formally proposing a forest management unit for conservation and, according to Ngole Ngwese, each time there is parity in offer for [forest] exploitation and conservation, preference would be given to the latter.

The inter-ministerial commission, the Minister stated, was created by law No 94/01 of 20 January 1994 on forest, wildlife and fisheries. Members of the commission are drawn from the Ministries of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Trade, Land Tenure, Finance as well as from trade unions operating in the timber and wood sectors.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01360

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