East PS issues directive over illegal timber
Chipata, July 24, 2014, ZANIS….Eastern Province Permanent Secretary
Chileshe Mulenga has directed District Commissioners in the Province
to ensure that all arrests made with regard to the illegal timber
trade are not taken to court.
Dr Mulenga said during the second quarter Provincial Development
Coordinating Committee (PDCC) this morning that matters concerning the
illegal timber trade only resulted in the auctioning of the impounded
timber when taken to court.
He told the District Commissioners to ensure that the police in their
respective districts do not take such matters to court.
But Chipata District Commissioner Kalunga Zulu argued that the police
are obliged by Law to take matters to court within 48 hours of any
Mr Zulu said after consultation with Law enforcement officers, he
realized that all cases were supposed to be taken to court otherwise
one would come into conflict with the Law.
Nyimba District Commissioner George Phiri disclosed that Nyimba
district will next week auction Mukula timber logs that were recently
impounded in illegal trade.
Mr Phiri also noted that Nyimba district is a transit point in the
illegal trade and observed that it is becoming difficult to capture
illegal dealers as they are now using other vehicles to monitor police
check points before transporting the commodity.
“There is usually a smaller vehicle which is used to check if there
are police check points and the drivers of the smaller vehicles are
the ones who alert those carrying the timber on whether to go ahead or
not,” he said.
And Sinda District Commissioner Janet Mvula called for reinforcement
in the fight against timber trade saying her district does not have
vehicles for forestry officers to carryout patrols.
Ms Mvula said most government departments do not have vehicles saying
the Law enforcement officers once used her vehicle when they impounded
a truck which was used in the transportation of the logs.
Meanwhile, Mambwe District Commissioner Caroline Mwanza noted that the
issue of transport was a major challenge, saying areas that are
reported to have high illegal timber trade such as Msoro and Mphomwa
are distances away from Mambwe Boma and that forestry officers require
vehicles to carryout patrols in the area.