Balaka court frees Tsanya dealers, despite pleading guilty

The Balaka Second Grade Magistrate Court in eastern Malawi has set free two people who pleaded guilty for being found with indigenous banned Tsanya logs without permit, accusing the forestry department of failing to perform their duties.

Tsanya logs

Tsanya logs

Tsanya logs impounded

Tsanya logs impounded

Police Prosecutor Sub Inspector Elias Chitsulo told the court that the suspects Billy Dziopani (36), and Joseph Feki (29), were on the night of 16th November, 2015 at Chingeni Roadblock, found with a container full of indigenous tsanya logs without permit.

Chitsulo said, the officers were doing routine checks at the roadblock when they came across a truck registration number PE1698 with Trailer number NN1213.

“When the suspects were asked of what was in the container, they said that they carried pine planks and produced a Malawi Government General receipt number 1608031 and transfer certificate number 008/15 in the name of J. Jussab which was issued at Regional Forest Office and was signed by M. D. Kawalewale on behalf of the Regional officer.”

But when the police insisted that they open the container, the officers discovered that the truck carried 450 banned tsanya logs without permit.

“The pine planks were just half a meter tall and were just used to disguise that they had taken planks as was written on the transfer certificate.”

The two pleaded guilty to the charge of being found in possession of forest produce without permit and Police tendered the tsanya logs and the vehicle as exhibits.

Passing judgment Second Grade Magistrate Victor Sibu acquitted the two saying that the Regional Forest Office failed their duty because they were supposed to check what was in the container before issuing the Government receipt and transfer certificate.

He said the two had authority to transfer the said items from Forest office and wondered as to why Police arrested them.

He said Regional Forest office knew what was going on and not the two. He therefore acquitted them and ordered that the truck, the pieces of pine planks and the banned tsanya logs be returned to the owner and Police has since released the vehicle and the tsanya logs.

Billy Dziopani comes from Chikalema village, Traditional Authority Dambe in Mwanza district while Joseph Feki comes from Phalula village, Senior Chief Nsamala in Balaka district.

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There is no Tsanya in Malawi anymore it was finished by a Ziboliboli. I agree that the Tsanya was in transit to China. The forestry officer knew that the truck was carrying Tsanya in the front section of the container and pine planks at the rear. The police at Chiingeni roadblock were sharp and alert. The magistrate should have impounded the Tsanya and released the pine planks. The pine planks were just a smoke screen.

Geof dondoza

Aaa zoona vuto sionyamula koma osainilawo

Time will tell

The magistrate is well aware of all the things you are raising here. Si mbuli iwowa ayi. Kungoti panalowa ziphuphu. Tsoka kwa iwe magistrate


i wonder why we have this ministry of forest???/ they are big idiots ever…..they are just eating our tax


I agree with the Magistrate. The Police had no right to arrest the transporters. This duty is in the hands of Forestry Department. The Regional Forestry department issued the certificate and gave the consent for the drivers to transport wood, so is that their problem? The magistrate . He is simply discharging his duties according to facts brought before him.


only if u knew wat tsanya has done to Malawi…1.we dont have tsanya in Mw..those logs come from zambia and moz..they are just goods in transit.2 tsanya has brought alot of forex to this country more than tobbaco..find out..bwenzi pano dziko litagwa kale


The magistrate has power to discharge an offender if there are exitinuating circumstances in the way an offence was committed. Blame the reporter for not understanding the law. There is difference between acquittal and discharge.


This Magistrate executed his job in the manner a village court would. He is a shame to the system, and must make an effort to shape in or shape out of it. He should have convicted the two, order re-possession of the logs, and further ordered corrective measures to ensure the Forestry department is accountable to the public. I have no doubt in my heart that the magistrate was corrupted. I am going to take this matter up as a private citizen. The battle is not over yet.


Permit was for mbwanda, and the people are arrested for non mbwanda. Case was proven beyond reasonable doubt. Magistrate has erred in all principles. However, the magistrate has shone a bright light on some conjectural official corruption of the forestry officers who gave a permit for mbwanda with knowledge that non mbwanda was also being transferred. ACB Pali ntchito apa.


Zokomera alomwe izi mwini truck waku phalombe,minister phalombe,wa police phalombe,president Thyolo.Asiyeni a Lomwe adyelere basi

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