Alert Forestry Department officers in Kasempa district in Northwestern province have intercepted a truck carrying 136 logs of suspected mukula tree logs from Kikonge area in Mufumbwe district destined for Lusaka.
The truck registration number ALM 2324 and trailer number ACP 64T which was being driven by Lawrence Sinyangwe of Luangwa township in Kitwe was intercepted around 22:00 hour on Friday night.
ZANIS reports that Northwestern province commissioner of police Auxensio Daka confirmed the incident in a statement today adding that the owner of the truck, Errol Rosen, 36, of Chisamba is in police custody charged with illegal possession of forest produce.
And North-western province minister, Richard Kapita has since implored people in the area to be very vigilant and quickly report any suspicious activities because some people are taking advantage of the vastness of the area, especially in the national park.
Mr. Kapita says the forest in the province is being decimated and therefore, there is need for communities around the forests to be vigilant in order to curb the illegal cutting of trees.
Recently, a combined team of security officers in Kasempa intercepted four trucks transporting mukula logs from Mufumbwe to Lusaka, two of which were carrying 140 logs apiece while the other two were carrying 130 logs each.
16 people including a Chinese national who was alleged to be the buyer of the mukula logs on three trucks were detained in police custody then.
And in March, this year police in the same district impounded and detained four truck containers laden with over 400 mukula logs.
Meanwhile, The forestry department in Lusaka has today impounded three for carrying suspected mukula tree logs without valid documents.
ZAINS reports that Lusaka District Forestry Officer Yobe Nyirenda who disclosed this during a press briefing at his office today said the impounded all had no valid papers as required by the forestry act.
Mr. Nyirenda said that the trucks were impounded at check points during the department’s routine patrols.
“What they were supposed to pay to the government is about three hundred and seventy five kwacha per cubic meter for production and twenty seven kwacha for conveyance, so multiplying the 20 cubic meters of timber in a truck is about nine thousand in total, ” he said.
Mr. Nyirenda indicated that the timber is supposed to be properly processed before it can be transported.
And Lusaka District Commissioner Captain Davison Mulenga says there is need for continued sensitization on what the law says on the forestry business.
“Lusaka is a no go area for such illegal business, we don’t want what is happening in other districts to be replicated here, no” Captain Mulenga said.
And one of the owners of the impounded timber Evelyn Puuka indicated that she has all the valid documentation but was not aware that she needed to have her papers stamped by the forestry department.
Ms. Puuka pleaded with government to be lenient with her since it’s her first time dealing in this business of which she did not know about the hammer stamp.
She lamented that her truck was impounded last week Tuesday without being charged adding that the development has greatly affected her business and family welfare.