The Chitipa First Grade Magistrate’s Court has ordered four people to pay a fine of K780,000.00 for being found in possession of forest produce and trafficking forest produce without a licence contrary to Section 68 of Forest Act 2019.
The court through state prosecutor Inspector Oscar Mwamutowe heard that the convicts, Andrew Mbange, 49, Simon Msukwa, 43, Daniel Munyimbiri, 27, and Tenson Kayange, 36, were arrested at Kapoka Police Roadblock while transporting timbers in two different vehicles from WIliro heading to Chitipa Township.
Upon being questioned by police officers who were manning the roadblock, the convicts failed to produce valid documents.
Two of the convicts who are drivers were charged with illegal trafficking of forest produce while the owners of the timbers were charged with being found in possession of forest produce without a licence.
Appearing before court the convicts pleaded guilty to the charges leveled against them.
In his submission, state prosecutor Inspector Mwamutowe told the court that the offence committed by the convicts is serious in nature and that the convicts are dangerous globally as well as at national level taking into consideration that there is global fight against climate change.
In mitigation, the convicts prayed for leniency, saying they are first offenders and breadwinners.
Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Billy Ngosi ordered one driver to pay a fine of K150,000.00 while the other convicts were fined K80,000.00 each.
Timber owners were fined K300,000.00. and K250,000.00 respectively.
The court further forfeited the forest produce to the Malawi Government.