Mukula smuggling scam busted

A scam using fake permits to sidestep the moratorium on exporting Mukula tree logs, has been busted.

Officers from the Zambia National Service (ZNS) impounded eight trucks loaded with Mukula tree logs, heading for Tanzania. It was intercepted in Nakonde, Muchinga.

Land and Environmental Minister Jean Kapata has since ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest anyone purporting to be in possession of an export permit issued by her ministry.

“The documents that some unscrupulous people are producing, are fake. Only one chief has a genuine permit to export Mukula tree logs, and the permit is expiring at the month end,” she said. She urged law enforcement agencies to intensify patrols and bring culprits to book.

Last month, the minister signed a statutory instrument to halt the export of all timber species, including Mukula, in an effort to curb rapid deforestation due to illegal timber harvesting. Zambia lost an estimate 276 000 hectares of forestry through illegal logging.

In accordance with the ban, logs may be impounded if found outside certain logging areas. Offenders will be arrested and prosecuted.

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