Man charged with removing forest produce

A businessman has been arraigned before a Narok court charged with removing 1,372 pieces of cedar timber worth Sh.274, 400 from Mau forest without a permit from the Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF).

Appearing before Narok Resident Magistrate (RM), Ms. Adenaline Sisenda, denied committing the offence on March 5, this year at Ole Kirkirai area in Narok North. The timber is believed to have been en-route Nairobi.

He was released on a bond of Sh.300, 000 with one surety of similar amount. The case will be heard on April 5. Cedar tree which takes over 30 years to mature is an endangered species and is protected by a presidential order issued in 2007.

This comes after Narok County and the national governments banned all logging activities, burning and transportation of charcoal in local forests in a bid to conserve the environment.

The two levels of governments also launched an operation to arrest all illegal loggers and charcoal burners in efforts aimed at conserving Mau water tower and other forests in the county.

The week old operation led by area security team and the administration has so far netted 27 people in connection with forest produce.

In addition, 1837 bags of charcoals, 1373 cedar posts and 2132 pieces of podo timber that were being transported from various forests in the county have also been impounded.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has also imposed a three month ban on logging and charcoal burning in the countrys forests.

Earlier this week, agencies nabbed 1,600 pieces of the cedar timber worth Sh.480, 000 which was being transported from Mau forest without a permit from the CCF.

And last week, three people were arraigned before a Narok court charged with illegally removing over 8,800 pieces of the cedar timber worth Sh.2.7million from Mau Forest.

Charcoal burning and logging are rampant in the Mau which is the countrys largest water tower. Hundreds of squatters have also invaded the forest and have vowed to stay put until when the government will settle them.

The bulk of charcoal and other forest produce consumed in various parts of the country are said to originate from Narok County, thanks to corrupt security officials and a few cartels which control the multi- million shillings charcoal business.

Source: Kenya News Agency