11, November 2017
The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed has denied any allegations of fraud following a report by a US based environmental agency.
The report claims that local and international laws were violated when she granted permits to Chinese firms to import Nigerian timber while she was the country’s minister of environment. Ms Mohammed says that the permits she signed for the export of rosewood logs to China were done following due process.
In a statement released by the United Nations, the deputy secretary general also welcomed efforts to shine more light on the issue of illegal rosewood logging and exportation. Nigeria is a key exporter of wood to China but the country has faced issues of illegal wood exportation.
Following what they say was a two year investigation, the US based Environmental Investigation Agency released a report on the illegal importation of rosewood logs worth $300m (£220m) from Nigeria to China.
It claims that thousands of permits were retrospectively signed off by the Ministry of Environment, permitting Chinese importers to release 1.4 million logs that had been detained at the Chinese border for months.
The report also claims that $1m was subsequently paid to unidentified government officials for the release of the wood. UN Secretary-General António Guterres was informed about the allegations and reiterated his full support and confidence in his deputy.