The Digital Journal on 7th July carried an article on “kevazingogate” – saying that tropical timber is piling up at Gabon’s main port as the country’s logging industry reels from a corruption scandal that brought down the vice president. The timber industry accounts for 17,000 jobs and 60% of non-oil related GDP. The trouble began in February, when customs officials discovered huge quantities of kevazingo, a precious and banned hardwood, in 2 Chinese-owned depots at Owendo. Nearly 5,000 cubic metres were seized, worth around $8 million, some of it disguised in containers bearing the stamp of the forestry ministry. The plot thickened in April, when many of the confiscated containers mysteriously disappeared from the port. The forestry minister has been replaced by British-born Lee White — an environmental campaigner who has lived for years in Gabon, battling to conserve its forests and wildlife.
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