Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka has revealed a lot of foul play is taking place at the Viphya Plantation (Chikangawa Forest) – shared between the districts of Nkhata Bay and Mzimba – involving the illegal sale of trees, and has since called for an ‘audit’ into the dealings at the plantation so that wrong-doers can be booked.
Kajoloweka, scheduled to leave the country mid-June for the US-Obama Youth Conference in Washington DC, said in an interview with Nyasa Times on the sidelines of a truck that was intercepted by the Malawi Police Service (MPS) at Lusangazi Road Block – a few kilometers before Mzuzu City.
The truck, registration number CA 8028 had on it more than 80 logs suspected not to be mature enough for harvesting.
Forest Officer at Lusangazi, a Mr. Phiri, is believed to have masterminded the scheme. He was arrested and later released on an unconditional bail, a move Kajoloweka described as “dubious”
Kajoloweka said it was not the “first time” that “unscrupulous” dealers at the plantation had been set scot-free.
Apparently, Nyasa Times understands, Phiri was released with instructions from “powers from above.”
Kajoloweka revealed government was “failing to embark on a comprehensive audit of the whole plant because senior public servants and politicians” were having a share of the plunder.
“Billions have been lost through unscrupulous means by politicians and government officials,” Kajoloweka.
He said YAS, which is running monitoring and evaluation projects in the plantation, wanted “an audit in this fiscal year.”
He said “lack of political will” on part of leaders including the incumbent leadership renders even Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime “suspects” as far as the sharing of the “plunder” is concerned.
YAS, Kajoloweka warned, would publish “names of some politicians and senior government officials” should government fail to do the audit.
Kajoloweka called for a halt of the “madness” currently at play at Viphya.
The Viphya Plantation is regarded Africa’s third largest man-made forest. But since the dawn of the democratic regime, the plantation has been plundered heavily with no tree re-planting happening.
According research YAS has conducted “billions of kwacha” have been lost through unscrupulous endeavors.
Almost every day, truckloads of timber from the plantation are seen exiting the country’s borders – especially the Karonga-Songwe Border.
Nyasa Times further understands that the timber is mostly “imported by Tanzanian traders” who later “export to China” for mainly “construction activities.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :