Reporter Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining says it has opened investigations into reports that some officers from the Department of Forest in Viphya Plantations are illegally harvesting trees and aiding illegal loggers.
“We have received the reports and we are investigating them. We will not behave like an angry bull galling at everybody in its way because not everybody is at fault,” said Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka in an interview on Tuesday.
He said the ministry has found that some loggers have suspicious documents whose validity is unauthenticated and are operating in collaboration with staff from his office.
“We will find the culprits and make sure that the law catches up with them. We will also transfer some staff,” said Msaka.
Raiply Malawi Limited chief executive officer Thomas Oomen said his company has lost 930 hectares of trees to illegal loggers.
“Our officers and Malawi Defence Force [MDF] patrol our concession area, but the problem is that when we reach the area of illegal logging activity, we do not find them because they are alerted by some people,” he said.
Meanwhile, two of the department’s officers stationed at Nthungwa Forest Office, which is part of the plantation were caught sawing trees which they were supposed to protect Luwawa Forest. They are currently on suspension pending further investigation. n