The past five (5) years, under the stewardship of Honorable Engineer Collins Nzovu, MP, have recorded heightened illegalities in the harvest, trade, and export of high-value indigenous trees, especially the Mukula tree species.
These illegalities in the timber sub-sector have caused the Government to continue losing revenue through fraudulent sales, wrong declarations, and smuggling of various illegally harvested tree species.
To address these illegalities, on 10th October 2021, under the leadership of Hon. Eng. Collins Nzovu, MP, the Government declared a ban on harvesting and trading in Mukula, which ban has remained in effect to date.
This was to pave the way for a more transparent and beneficial system that not only favors the timber loggers but the merchants and Government as well. With the ban in place, the already harvested illegal Mukula logs remain unattended to at various locations across the country.
Eng. Nzovu, now wishes to inform the nation that, under his leadership, the Government through the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment has engaged the services of the Zambia National Service (ZNS) under the Ministry of Defence, to embark on an exercise on behalf of the Forestry Department, identify and collect all illegally harvested Mukula logs laying across the Country to named ZNS Satellite/Collection Centres.
The exercise to mop up all illegally harvested Mukula logs across the country will run from 1st November, 2023, to 20th November, 2023.
Members of the public are encouraged to cooperate with personnel from the Zambia National Service as they go around identifying and collecting the said Mukula logs for their eventual transportation to and deposition at Satellite/Collection Centres.
The Satellite/Collection Centres will exclusively be managed by the Zambia National Service, as directed by Eng. Nzovu.
The official Satellite/Collection Centres under the leadership of Eng. Nzovu, are: Luapula Luamfumu, ZNS Camp, Western Mangango, ZNS Camp, Muchinga Mpika, ZNS Camp, Northern Kasama, ZNS Camp, Eastern Nyimba, ZNS Camp and Southern Livingstone, ZNS Camp
Following the Mukula mopping exercise, under the guidance of Eng. Nzovu, my Ministry, through the Forestry Department, will immediately engage the Director of Public Prosecutions to institute forfeiture proceedings to forfeit the said illegally harvested Mukula logs to the State in accordance with the relevant laws applicable.
This process is scheduled to take place within two weeks from the completion of the Mukula mop-up exercise.
Once the Illegally harvested Mukula logs have been forfeited to the State, a Special Committee of Survey will undertake to value the said logs after which, the auctioning of the forfeited logs will be done at each Collection/Satellite Centre, as envisioned by Eng. Nzovu.
This will ensure a fair and transparent way of disposing of the already harvested logs. This process will ultimately limit fraud and other illegalities, thus maximizing local benefits in the trade and export of indigenous tree species.
Addressing these illegalities will in the long term benefit the timber loggers, merchants, and local communities as we focus more on timber value addition for maximum financial returns, in line with the vision of Eng. Nzovu.
Eng. Nzovu. takes this opportunity to caution and state that, under his leadership, the Ministry, through the Director of Forestry in collaboration with the Director of Public Prosecutions, will not hesitate to prosecute anyone aiding and/or abetting an illegality.
Therefore, the law will take its course on anyone that will prevent or attempt to prevent the Zambia National Service from collecting and/or confiscating illegally harvested Mukula Logs.