ATIBT relays here a press release written by Brainforest and FRM Gabon.
PRESS RELEASE FOR DISTRIBUTION BY ATIBT
- April 04, 2023 -
ATIBT is repeatedly questioned about the situation of TRACER Nkok by European importers who rely for several years already on this due diligence service applied to suppliers of logs of the Nkok SEZ, service implemented since October 2018 and giving full satisfaction to its sponsor GSEZ. ATIBT has just questioned the service providers in charge of deploying this service, the structure FRM Engineering relayed in Gabon by the subsidiary FRM Gabon and the NGO Brainforest. By the present press release, we make here a point of the situation in answer to this questioning.
On March 7th, 2023, we received an order from the forest administration to suspend the activities of TRACER. As of March 8, our agents were prevented from carrying out their controls of log flows entering the Nkok SEZ. On the same day, we refuted the allegations made against TRACER in a letter addressed to the General Administrator of the Nkok SEZ, with a copy to GSEZ, the Director General of Forests, and the Minister in charge of forests.
Following the orchestrated publication of an article on the website gabontelegraph.com on March 9, which repeated and amplified the allegations against TRACER, the entities FRM Gabon and Brainforest, partners in the implementation of the TRACER service for more than 4.5 years already, issued a press release on March 10 to stop this misinformation.
To date, and in spite of several attempts of resumption of the controls, our agents could not yet take back their posts at the entrances of the SEZ, nor to make checks on the wood parks of the SEZ of Nkok, at the level of the factories as in the central wood park under management of GSEZ. Under these conditions, logs entering the Nkok SEZ since March 8 are no longer subject to our independent control. We are also no longer able to conduct our due diligence process and procedures specific to TRACER Nkok on prospective log suppliers to the Nkok SEZ upstream of the log flows entering the SEZ, in the forest and on the logging sites. Nkok SEZ log suppliers' approvals are no longer monitored, and some can now supply logs to the Nkok SEZ without approval!
Today, even though exchanges with the prescriber of the TRACER Nkok service are extremely close, we remain with GSEZ waiting for a return from the Ministry in charge of forests. We remain fully mobilized to resume the TRACER Nkok service within 24 hours, while ensuring the guarantee of total independence essential to the credibility of such a service. With time running out, and without a rapid resumption of TRACER controls, it is the situation that prevailed before the deployment of TRACER in the Nkok SEZ in 2018 that could very quickly return to normal!