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Story Publication logo November 24, 2022

Cameroon, Timber: On the Trail of Lapsed Logging Sales That Did Not Really Exist (French)


Image of logs in Central Africa.

Some logging companies have taken advantage of loopholes in state control systems to make large...


This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit The Museba Project. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

It was March 16, 2021. The Cameroonian Minister of Forestry made a decision noting the lapse of some fifty seven sales of timber in the national domain, "due to the fact that their period of validity has been exceeded."

A sale of timber is a parcel of land that the State makes available to a private company that has the financial, administrative and technical capacity to operate for a period of three years that can be renewed, said Ebenezer Ekwalla Dit Toube, former chief brigadier of the central unit at the Ministry of Forestry.

"This parcel does not exceed 2500 hectares," said the retired official.

As these sales of timber had expired several months ago and the thirty-eight logging companies involved had not requested an extension of their activities, they were declared null and void by the forestry administration.

"The lapse thus pronounced entails the loss of the logging title, the final and immediate cessation of relative activities, the settlement of all rights, taxes and royalties due," wrote Jules Doret Ndongo, the Minister of Forestry. "These rights, taxes and royalties, may, if necessary, be subject to forced recovery.

Image by The Museba Project. Cameroon, 2022.

Jean Paul Diouala Mkpala, chief of the village Mekoua. Image by The Museba Project. Cameroon, 2022.

A view of the dense forest. Image by The Museba Project. Cameroon, 2022.