A Dutch Court, June 24 slammed a ban on Fibois BV for illegal importation of timber from Cameroon.
The ban also borders on the non-compliance with the European Union Timber Regulation,EUTR.
Fibois BV was also faulted for negligence and non- compliance with EUTR in its transaction with a Cameroonian firm, Compagnie de Commerce et de Transport, CCT.
This was done following a complaint filed by Greenpeace against Fibois BV.
The court upheld a decision by NVWA to penalize Fibois by putting her timber products on a watch list.
Should they not comply with regulation, the timber importer will pay a fine of FCFA 1,170,000 for every cubic meter of wood.
Greenpeace has followed the logging activities of CCT for many years and exposed illegal practices plaguing the forestry sector in Cameroon in 2016.
However, the Cameroonian Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Philip NgoleNgwese, reacted to the Greenpeace report with a media offensive.
In an article published in several Cameroonian newspapers, the Minister claimed the information in the report was false and that the activities of all timber suppliers to CCT that were cited in the report were fully in compliance with the Cameroon Forestry laws.
“Greenpeace is vindicated by the court ruling against Fibois BV by the Dutch Competent Authority. It shows that the court stood by our meticulous report,” Eric Ini, Greenpeace Africa’s Forest Campaigner said.
“This ruling is a clear call to Minister Ngwese to instil the rule of law in the Cameroon forestry sector and sanction the likes of CCT accordingly,” Ini added.
“The Dutch court ruling against Fibios highlights lapses in credibility and control in supply chains that the Cameroonian Government can no longer afford to ignore. We hope Forestry and Wildlife officials in Cameroon will implement laws to bring sanity in the forestry sector.”
CCT has been supplying azombé timber from questionable sources in Cameroon to Fibois BV.
Despite NVWA warning in March 2015 and conditional penalty in 2016 to Fibios BV, CCT and the Cameroonian Forestry and Wildlife Ministry remained indifferent to concerns from the international market.
They have been trading timber sourced from highly destructive logging operations, several of which were exposed to by those involved in illegal logging according to a Greenpeace report published in 2015.
Greenpeace traced the timber from CCT to many importers in Europe, including Fibois BV in Purmerend in the Netherlands.