THREE PEOPLE have been arrested for being in possession of sawn timber by the Zambia Police in Isoka District of Muchinga Province.
ZANIS reports that both Muchinga Deputy Police Commissioner Bonny Kapeso and Principal Forestry Officer, Everisto Nonde confirmed the arrest of the trio.
This brings the number of those arrested for the same activity to five, so far.
Mr. Kapeso said the three were arrested on Friday night during an operation mounted by the police after a tip off from the members of the general public.
He said the suspects were using a Scania truck Registration number ALP 2019 to load timber in Kampumbu area of Isoka district.
Among the arrested are Charles Siame the timber dealer ,two brothers Dalious Kalunga and Brain Kalunga all of Isoka district.
Mr Kapeso said the trio will appear in court today.
Last week a combined team of operations confiscated 1,305 sawn illegal timber valued at K 91,350 which is currently in police custody.
The combined team of operation include Zambia Police, immigration, forestry department, the district commissioner`s office and office of the President.
The said timber was picked from two points within the district.
Provincial forestry Officer Everisto Nonde said the impounded timber is nothing but a drop in the ocean adding that what is remaining out there is massive worth thousands of kwacha.
Mr Nonde said Government is losing huge sums of money through illegal timber dealers who are exporting it to foreign countries.
He said the estimated value of K 91, 350 is minus the price paid to Government for saw logs per cubic meter.
Mr. Nonde said the timber is being sold at prevailing markets at K70 per piece.
He said the cutting down of the Muputu tree is being done by professionals who are said to be Tanzanian nationals.
Mr Nonde said it is a pity that most Zambians who are involved in this illegal business are only subcontracted by foreigners.
In the past Zambians used the Muputu tree for charcoal adding that of late it is now being cut for timber.
He said his department will not relent in bringing sanity in the forestry industry.
The principal forestry officer further warned that culprit’s will not go scot free.
Mr Nonde commended the combined team and the provincial administration for their tireless efforts in combating the vice.