Blantyre District Forestry Office (DFO) on Wednesday impounded two trucks carrying hundreds of bags of charcoal and fined a truck driver, Mc Donald Galison, 44 for being found carrying bags of charcoal.
A 30 tonne truck registration number NU 7733/BJ2778 belonging to Chimalira Enterprise in Ntcheu which was driven by McDonald Galison was impounded Wednesday morning at GCD police roadblock along Blantyre-Lunzu road while another 10 tonne truck was also impounded in Machinjiri Blantyre following a tip-off from well-wishers
According to Galison, his boss who is the owner of Chimalira Enterprise , was not aware that he had carried charcoal bags as it was his personal business.
“I went to visit one of my relatives in Phalula where I was approached by certain people who wanted me to carry some goods to Machinjiri in Blantyre. Whilst at my relative’s place, the people started loading their bags and when I came back, I asked them what the bags contained and they told me it was maize husks and a few bags of charcoal.
“I did not follow up on the goods as I found the bags already covered with a canvas, only to realize after being arrested that the 30 tonner vehicle was fully parked with charcoal. Unfortunately, six of the ten owners of the business disappeared leaving me alone as the remaining four who boarded a minibus were also nowhere to be seen,” Galison explained.
He said he was still sourcing funds from friends to settle the fine so that the forest officials could release the NU7733 truck.
District Forestry Officer, Geoffrey Kanyerere said Galison’s arrest at around Kameza roundabout following a tip off from an anonymous person who saw the vehicle loading the charcoal at Phalula.
“We were told the vehicle’s trailer was nicely parked that one would not know that charcoal was loaded inside. We then started following it through our forestry officers in all roadblocks and managed to arrest him. He has since been fined K600, 000 which he is yet to pay,” he pointed.
Kanyerere said collective effort was required just like HIV and AIDS issues if the country’s trees are to be protected from the charcoal burners, thereby protecting the environment.