Once government officials have received their bribes, they often fraudulently stamp planks with an embossed hammer to provide proof of ‘legality’. Only then can traders sell their timber. Sporadic attempts have been made to introduce a formal system of payments in the domestic timber sector, with varying degrees of failure. Both at Messa Market in Yaoundé and in Bertoua, powerful vested interests within the Ministry of Forests and Fauna have undermined these efforts. CIFOR/ Charlie Pye-Smith

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