By CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI
A TANZANIAN truck driver has told the Serenje Magistrateâ€™s Court that a Chinese man and his Zambian co-accused promised to pay him US$ 3, 500 to transport logs of Mkula tree from Serenje to Dar es Salaam.
Tahlm Muhammad Abdulla of Dar es Salaam told resident magistrate Fidelis Ngosa last Wednesday that Li Ke, 21, and Derrick Daka, 37, hired his vehicle to ferry logs of Mkula to Dar es Salaam.
Li and Daka were arrested in May 11 this year for unlawful removal of Forest Products, namely the Mkula from the forest in Serenje.
Li and Daka pleaded not guilty.
â€œThe agreement was that they were going to pay me US$3,500 if I transported the timber from Serenje up to Dar es Salaam,â€ he said.
Mr Abdulla testified that on May 6 this year while he was in Lusaka, he was approached by two Zambians who hired his Volvo truck registration number TZ 394 ANS and TZ 2783 ANS.
Mr Abdulla said he was taken to a garage where he was introduced to Li and Daka who informed him that the timber was in Serenje.
â€œThey told me that they wanted me to carry timber (Mkula tree) and I should wait in Lusaka because they were still preparing papers. They told me that their business was legal,â€ Mr Abdulla said.
He said on May 11 this year after they crossed Ndabala police check point on Great North Road, they turned into the bush andÂ covered a distance 30 kilometres.
Mr Abdulla recalled that they reached a certain place in the forest where they found logs of Mkula tree and some villagers started loading the timber onto his truck.
He said as he was driving back towards Great North Road, a police Land cruiser intercepted his vehicle and he led them to where Daka and Li where waiting for him.
Mr Abdulla aid they were taken to Serenje Police Station where police recorded statements from them and impounded his truck
â€œThe DC (Serenje district commissioner Charles Mwelwa) broke the seal on the truck to check what was in the container,â€ Mr Abdulla said
When asked to cross-examine Mr Abdulla Li said he had no questions.
Daka asked Mr Abdulla whether he was the one who hired him or a Chinese company and he responded that both him and Li hired him.
And Mr Ngosa said he wants the case be concluded this month.
â€œThese are instructions from the Chief Justice that cases should not spill over into the next month. This why I donâ€™t want this case to spill over into September,â€ Mr Ngosa said.
He adjourned the case to August 21 for continued trial.
By CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI