The Namibian Anti-Corruption Commission has announced the conviction of a Chinese citizen residing in Zambia over the export of illegal Mukula logs through that country.
In December 2017, a truck carrying timber from Zambia was stopped and later confiscated after the documentation presented to Customs in Namibia, appeared to be suspicious.
The owner of the timber, a Chinese citizen identified as Chinese is Mr Shi Linjiang and residing in Zambia was summoned from Zambia and on arrival in Katima Mulilo questioned by an Authorised Officer of the ACC.
He was subsequently arrested and detained and was last Friday, 19th of January 2018 convicted of an offence in terms of the Customs Act (providing false information) and sentenced to a fine of N$ 20,000.00.
The Mukula logs were forfeited to the State.
The seizure happened on New Years Eve, around 23:00 after ACC officers stopped and seized a fifth load of Rosewood carried on a Zambian truck.
This truck too carried forged paperwork based on documentation bearing the same serial numbers as two earlier loads confiscated.
The ACC observed it is now becoming more evident that a network of agents on the Zambian and Namibian sides of the border are the facilitators of this documentation.
The Mukula logs allegedly originated from Sesheke Hardwood Limited in Zambia in transit to Zhejiang Wutong Tree Supply Chain Management Co Ltd, China.
The consignment was allegedly sold for USD 1200 (around USD 60 per cubic meter although the invoice appears to be suspicious as it was marked Invoice 00002 as it was unlikely that this Limited liability Company would only have done two transactions in their financial year.
The documentation however appears to be forged as certain parts of the Phytosanitary Certificate (bearing the same serial number and RCT number of the one used by the truck bearing the Mukula wood reported earlier on, was used and only the bottom details describing the consignment were changed.
The ‘Clear Guard” treatment was allegedly done in May 2017 and the wood only exported from Zambia in December 2017.
This is a lapse of six months (International Standards dictate that this is done around 14 days before export).
The Zambia Conveyance and Production License bears the exact printed serial number as the documentation obtained from the Mukula Wood truck.
There were some of the reasonable grounds to suspect that the documentation provided for and submitted in Namibia, either at the point of entry or to Authorized Officials of the ACC are forgeries.
This raised suspicions as to the origin of the timber and why it would have been necessary to utilize forged documentation.