Police in Zambia have charged a traditional leader with illegal possession in the latest seizure of 400 Mukula logs.
Provincial Police Commissioner Auxensio Daka said Chief Chizela was charged after five trucks with Mukula logs were found parked at his palace.
Zambia imposed a trade moratorium on the sought-after tree species last year. It also enlisted the army to help enforce the ban, which includes a prohibition on transporting the logs through Zambia. The ban remains.
Following the crackdown, Mukula logs valued at more than US$20 million were seized. The state has since sold the logs at auction.
Meanwhile, the Zambian National Association of Sawmillers (ZNAS) has petitioned government to lift the ban and return seized Mukula logs said to have been legally harvested. “The ban on the trade of Mukula logs has had negative consequences on traders and the economy,” said ZNAS President William Bwalya.