As the Green Party, we are extremely depressed by incoherent statements coming from government officials on the export of mukula logs laden in the 21 containerized trucks impounded three days ago by youths claiming to be PF members are extremely depressing.
First of all, we are alive to the statement made by the Minister of Lands Jean Kapata in July this year when she informed the nation that Government has banned harvesting, transportation, trading and export of Mukula tree in accordance with Statutory Instrument number 94 of 2015.
We are also alive to the statement by the same Minister when three days ago she informed the nation that all illegal cargoes of Mukula logs that have been seized and forfeited to the State will be auctioned. Meantime, Defence Permanent Secretary Stardy Mwale says ZAFFICO has been mandated by government to export the illegally harvested and confiscated mukula logs to China. So, between the minister responsible for forest management and the permanent secretary responsible for defence, who is telling the nation the truth?
The minister responsible for management says the ban for harvesting, transportation, and trading in Mukula logs for export is still in force, while the permanent secretary responsible for defence says the 21 containerized trucks which ZAFFICO was transporting from Lusaka to Chirundu and from Mporokoso to Chirundu is for export to China? So, between the minister responsible for forest management and the permanent secretary responsible for defence, who is telling the nation the truth?
If, policy and law on the ban for harvesting, transportation, and trading in Mukula logs for export has been lifted without knowledge of the minister responsible for forest management, what lawful criteria was used government or ZAFFICO to select the buyers in China? Why China? Why not anywhere else in the world? Has any payment been made? How much is involved? When was the payment done, and in whose favour? Was there any tendering according to the law? Was the auction in accordance with the Laws of Zambia? When were the adverts placed in the Government Gazette, and other public media?
Clearly, the whole episode is depressing and stinks of corruption and other illegalities. Sadly, the Anti-Corruption Commission and other agencies responsible for combating economic and financial crimes are too compromised to credibly investigate the matter.
31 December, 2017