Torwan T. Yantay, the man charged with the same crimes as those for which the dismissed Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Managing Director Moses Wogbeh and three other mangers and a senior surveyor at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME) are currently being tried, testified against his colleagues.
Yantay served as acting manager for GIS and Remote Sensing of the FDA responsible to conduct field validation of communities where logging companies were operating with the Private Use Permits (PUPs).
Prosecution is alleging that Yantay’s testimonies can prove that the defendants, without following the regulations of the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PCCP), issued sixty-one PUP licenses, which authorized commercial logging operations on the 2.5 million hectares of farmland in five of the fifteen counties in the country by the FDA.
Yantay will not be charged again for any crime related to the testimony he has provided.
In his testimony, he alleged that in 2010 FDA’s management appointed him to serve as acting GIS manager after his former boss, Augustine Johnson, wen on annual leave. But Yantay said during his interim period, the institution was carrying out PUP validation reports.
In December 2010, after Johnson had left, his team was sent to the Tienpo Gbapo Chiefdom in River Gee County for field validation of the Gedeh land.
According to him, in early April 2011, a team from his division was sent into the field to validate PUP areas and the team returned with its reports for signature.
Yantay said, “My boss, John B. Kantor, then technical manager of the FDA and co-defendant, informed me that the company and the regional staff of the FDA visited the area for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), so he signed and I also signed the three reports.”
According to him, in July of that same year, the management of the FDA had a meeting with donors to carry out the project called ‘Expand’ in the Grand Kru- Rivergee Counties’ proposed protected areas.
He said, “When I did the overlay of the shape, it was noticed that a greater portion of the areas had been given as PUPs to the people of Jiah community in the area.”
He said he informed Mr. Kantor and one Theo Freeman about the overlap and they were asked to find the validation report.
Yantay further explained that the validation report in the contract showed that the portion of the Grand Kru-Rivergee proposed protected area had already been given under the PUP, and Kantor instructed his division to check for all other areas that were overlapped.
“At that time there were only three areas that were overlapped,” he claimed.
Yantay will not be charged again with any crime related to the testimony he has provided.
Prosecution is claiming that Yantay’s testimonies can prove that the defendants allegedly issued the sixty-one PUP licenses, which authorized commercial logging operation on the 2.5 million hectares of farmland in five of the fifteen counties by the FDA.
At Thursday’s hearing, Yantay appeared calm throughout his testimony that lasted for almost three hours, before Presiding Judge Peter W, Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court ‘C,’ suspended the matter for an hour.
The defendants are being tried on the commission of the crimes, which include economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, forgery or counterfeiting, obtaining and issuing deceptive writings and obstruction of government functions by public servants.