Mpika court sentences four to two years with hard labour for illegal timber

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The Mpika Magistrates Court has convicted four people to two years imprisonment with hard labour each for illegal timber possession and disturbance of the habitat of biological resources contrary to the laws of Zambia.

The four were charged for disturbance and unlawful possession of biological resources an offence under the Environmental Management Act (EMA) Number 12 of 2011 contrary to Section 120 (b) and (c) of the EMA.

Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) Principal Information and Communications Officer Irene Chipili confirmed in a statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka today.

Ms. Chipili named the suspects as Arnold Zimba, Stevia Mfula, Lawrence Mwila and Morgan Chewe.

The offence was committed between May 26 and 31, this year  in Mpika district, Muchinga Province and were arrested on June 19, 2014.

The quartet pleaded guilty to the offence and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour each.

Ms Chipili further disclosed that the truck used to transport the timber products has been forfeited to the state.

In the same court, Webster Mwachunga and Ken Fundakwa pleaded not guilty to charges of trading and unlawful possession of biological resources contrary to the provisions of the EMA Act.

Trial has been set for July 7, 2014.

She said ZEMA is concerned with the increasing number of illegal timber harvesting and trading in the country.

She advised members of the public to report all cases of suspected illegal timber trading or possession to the Police, Forestry Department, ZEMA or any other law enforcement agency.

Ms Chipili said it is the duty of all citizens to protect natural resources in Zambia.