Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary Sturdy Mwale has clarified that ZAFFICO was mandated by government to export the illegally harvested and confiscated Mukula logs on its behalf.
Mr. Mwale said this at a press briefing yesterday following an incident where a haulage of Mukula logs was intercepted by some citizens on suspicion that the logs belonged to a senior government official.
He says the Zambia Forestry and Forest Limited Corporation, ZAFFICO, has been given a mandate by the government of the Republic of Zambia to export the illegally harvested and confiscated Mukula logs to China on its behalf.
He adds that it is in this vain that on 29th December, 2017, ZAFICO was transporting 10 containarised trucks laden with Mukula logs from Lusaka to Chirundu and a further 11 trucks from Mporokoso and Nsama to Chirundu.
Mr. Mwale explains that when they were intercepted in Shimabala area, initially by suspected UPND cadres and later by suspected PF cadres on allegation that the consignment belonged to a very senior government official and were being illegally transported without documentation.
He states that in the process, ZAFFICO officials escorting the trucks were robbed of some official documents for the movement of the trucks from Lusaka to Chirundu and money amounting to approximately K30, 000 a matter which defense and security wings are investigating.
In August 2017, Muchinga Province Minister Malozo Sichone revealed that the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) is likely to raise US$1 million from the sale of Mukula logs that were seized from unscrupulous timber traders in the province.
Government then engaged ZAFFICO to collect and auction the Mukula tree that was illegally cut in Muchinga Province by timber traders.
The auctioned Mukula logs (which was initially harvested illegally by unscrupulous dealers) are now being escorted out of the country by members of the Joint Operations Commiittee (JOC) comprising secret service, Zambia Army, ZNS, Police, DEC, ZRA, and Forestry to ensure that, no fresh contraband is added along the way.