Five Women, Others Fined for Importing Bags of Charcoal from Zambia
Mzimba Senior Resident Magistrate Court has ordered five women to pay a fine of 150,000 kwacha each for importing 180 bags of charcoal from Zambia into the country or face a jail term of up to 30 months in default. They have also been fined 100,000 kwacha each for being found in possession of the bags of charcoal illegally or serve 24 months in default.
Senior Resident Magistrate Mathews Msiska has also ordered the driver of the CCAP synod of Livingstonia vehicle registration number MZ 47 and his four assistants to pay a fine of 150,000 kwacha each or in default serve a jail term of 30 months for trafficking forest products
According to facts presented in court the incident happened in November this year.
They were earlier charged with two counts - importing the forest products and possession of the forest products contrary to the new forest act.
The state through police prosecutor Isaac Imedi argued that the women, the driver and his four assistants be slapped with stiffer punishments to deter others from destroying the environment through illegal charcoal production
Passing judgement Mzimba Senior Resident Magistrate Mathews Msiska concurred with the state saying though they got the charcoal from Zambia the implications on the environment are the same
On the other hand the senior resident magistrate has ordered that the vehicle used in trafficking the bags of charcoal be returned to the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia as this was the first time it has been used in such operations.
The women Cecelia Gama aged 28, Esther Khoza aged 27, Jessie Nyirenda aged 34, Judith Hara aged 27 and Hellen Chirwa aged 22 are from Chanthomba location around Mzimba boma while the driver Frank Gondwe and his assistants are from the area of Inkosi Mmbelwa.