Four men charged for encroachment
Kapiri Mposhi, July 11, ZANIS —— Kapiri Mposhi Magistrates court has fined four men K450 each or face a nine-month simple imprisonment in default for residing in a National Forest Reserve without authority.
The four appeared in Kapiri Mposhi Magistrate Court facing one count each of residing in a National Forest Reserve contrary to Section 16(b) and 55(a) of the Forests Act Chapter 199 of the laws of Zambia.
Before Kapiri Mposhi Magistrate Brenda Chiganda were Stanley Silavwe 38, Joseph Mooya 44, Daniel Mulenga 30 and Marshall Chileshe 33 all of Kapiri Mposhi district.
Facts before the court were that the four men had been residing and farming in Chibwe National Forest Reserve in Kapiri Mposhi without licenses permitting them to.
The four were arrested on 28th June 2013 by Forest Officers who received information that some people were residing and cultivating in Chibwe National Forest in Kapiri Mposhi.
The men readily pled guilty to the charge and asked the court to exercise lenience on them because they were first offenders and that they were looking after their families who would suffer if they were sent to jail.
In passing judgment Magistrate Chiganda noted that residing in Forest Reserves without authority was a serious offence because it undermines government’s efforts of conserving forests.
Magistrate Chiganda stated that the court will mete out strong punishments to deter would be offenders because the crime was also making government policy of conservation unattainable.
She said illegal settling in forest reserves was becoming common and uncontrollable with people allocating themselves land which is not authorized.
They were fined K450 each to be paid within 14 days from the date of sentencing or to face a nine-month simple imprisonment in default.
Meanwhile, Magistrate Chiganda has set tomorrow 12 July as the date for commencement of trial in a matter in which three other men have pled not guilty to charges of residing in a National Forest Reserve without authority.
Don’t Bulayi, Crispin Talubwa and Kingston Hachinvwa have entered pleas of not guilty necessitating for an adjournment in the matter.