Raiply Malawi hits back at Timber Millers Union

Raiply Malawi says it does not owe Timber Millers Union anything and has challenged the union to bring evidence of the company’s alleged theft of 2, 000 hectares of blue gum trees in Viphya Plantation.

Raiply Malawi Limited CEO Thomas Oomen (right), Pic by McCarthy Mwalwimba -Man

Raiply Malawi Limited CEO Thomas Oomen (right), Pic by McCarthy Mwalwimba -Man

Trees cut by illegal sawyers in Chikangawa concession, Pic by McCarthy Mwalwimba -Mana

Trees cut by illegal sawyers in Chikangawa concession, Pic by McCarthy Mwalwimba -Mana

On Tuesday, last week, the millers held demonstrations to force Raiply to return the 2,000 hectares of trees they said the company harvested from an area belonging to the millers.

But speaking to journalists on Saturday, Raiply’s CEO Thomas Oomen said the company has never harvested trees beyond its concession area of 20, 000 hectares and challenged the millers to bring evidence of the alleged theft.

“Let them come and show us the area which they say is theirs and we have harvested their trees. Let them produce documents for the 2,000 hectares they are talking about,” Oomen said.

“We are working within the law and we have not broken any law of this country,” he added.

Instead, Oomen lamented that Raiply has lost 800 hectares of forest to illegal sawyers who harvest trees in the company’s concession area.

“Fourteen places within our concession area have been encroached and the value of the 800 hectares, today, is K2.1 billion,” he said.

A media visit to Kalungulu, 20 kilometres from the Raiply factory, and Lucheremu showed vast areas of cleared forest. The illegal sawyers camp right inside the forest as evidenced by some shacks.

Some sawyers were seen running away from their shacks when they saw vehicles’ arriving in the area.

“It is not only Raiply that is losing out. Government is also losing out on this because the encroachers are not paying anything to the government,” Oomen said.

Meanwhile, government through the Department of Forestry deployed Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers who are patrolling the Chikangawa forest and confiscating illegal sawyers’ equipment and timber.

However, the illegal sawyers are still camping within the forest and reportedly cut trees even at night.

Raiply’s Assistant Forestry Manager Elester Mando, who accompanied journalists on a tour of the forest, said the illegal sawyers have a good network of informants who alert one another whenever security personnel come close to their shacks.

“Each time they see us come here, they inform one another and vacate the area to safety. During the night if you come here, I’m sure you will find people [illegal sawyers] working.

“As a way forward, we need to tighten security in the plantation by making sure that nobody operates within the concession area apart from Raiply as a legal concessionaire,” Mando said.

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5 thoughts on “Raiply Malawi hits back at Timber Millers Union”

  1. cuthbert manda says:

    let the law plat its course

  2. benard kenson says:

    My fellow Malawians it is a shame mostly people from Northern Region killing your only big company employing almost all people from three regions becoz of your selfishness and blindness by hiding yourselves behind the name of Asians. This is a pride to all Tumbukas Ngondes, Tongas,Lambyas etc, becoz they are employed within their home and financially it is contributing to best flow of money in the north making Mzuzu indeed a city.Raiply company even to the government alot of tax money our MRA is earning from it serving the nation. Already whiteman is not supporting us therefore attracting more companies in our country its something very important and also protecting the existing ones in all regions. I am positive some Malawian are reacting with the spirit of jealousy they dont feel happy when the North is trying to grow up. They this region should remain the dead North as it is in comparison to the Central and South. Let us not hide suppose APM his home was Mzimba could he be just silent as he is doing without finding out what is going on in the North? Some of us the picture of this battle going on it teaches us how hatred is amongst us despite calling ourselves one nation. Leaders of Malawi please protect this company for sake of the nation and the future of our children. Already employment in Malawi is a problem why should allow selfish blind people make millions of Malawians suffer by grounding this company becoz of raw-materials people are stealing and burning them down. Mr President with the forest Ministry we are surrounded with Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique, these countries do have forest why not allowing Macheka system? All which country people do behave the way it is here in Malawi? Tizakulilirani in future that you also contributed to closure of this company just becoz it is in the dead north. May God open up your eyes, this company is not for the individual but for nation and the world.

  3. Gwalawala says:

    It pains me when I see the once mighty Chikangawa lying like a desert. Officials try as much to replant the gone trees, and I feel pain in my heart seeing the tender trees up in flames. Those setting the trees on fire think they are punishing someone, yet they punish themselves. No work for them.

  4. kukhala says:

    I HATE THOSE ASIAN FACES IN OUR LAND. THESE ARE CROOKS OR HAVE COLLIDED WITH POLITICIANS . NO ORDINARY MALAWIAN IS BENEFITTING WITH THEIR PRESENCE THEREIN CHIKANGAWA.

  5. makito says:

    This is how stupid Malawi policy makers are. You plundered the forest like it belonged to another state, not the trees are gone, you have to spend more to protect the few that are left thanks to the concession.

    This is really painful: this is what Mulli and others in the previous government have brought to us.

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