—The Lundazi magistrate’s court has convicted and fined three people K5,000=00 each , or in default 18 months imprisonment with hard labour for unlawful possession of 83 Mukula logs, biological resources, contrary to Section 120[b] of the Environmental Management Act number 12 of 2011.
Three other accomplices denied the charge and have been put on trial
Before magistrate Kelvin Litiya were Samson Zulu aged 38 , a Church elder of a named church, Reuben Nyirongo, 45 of Madede village, chief Mwase, Rodwell Mtonga, aged 37,Charles Shawa, 21, truck driver, Boyison Nyirenda, aged 32, the co-driver and Joseph Ngoma, 18, a loader all of Chimtuyulu compound.
The six suspected persons were arrested by police along Lundazi –Mphamba road, on 28 September, 2014 after being found with 83 mukula logs on a truck registration number ABK 5264.
Samson Zulu, Reuben Nyirengo and Rodwell Mtonga readily admitted the charge while Charles Shawa, the driver, Boyison Nyirenda, the co-driver and Joseph Ngoma the loader, denied the charge and magistrate Litiya has since adjourned the matter to Friday 10th October 2014 for trail.
In mitigation Zulu, Nyirengo and Mtonga, appealed to court to exercise maximum lenience, saying they were first offenders, married with school going children and if sent to prison their families would suffer.
However Magistrate Litiya said mukula tree should be protected by people of Lundazi, including Church elders, drivers and village headmen among others, saying it was the duty of courts to met out stiffer punishment to deter other would-be offenders.