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DEC nabs South African over mukula timber

NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
THE Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) has arrested a 52-year-old South African consultant for alleged illegal trade of over 2,000 logs of timber of the endangered Mukula tree species.
DEC public relations officer Theresa Katongo said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that Sarel Putter, 52, of plot number 1296 Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Road in New Avondale, has been arrested for alleged illegal trading and unlawful possession of biological resources also known as ‘mukula tree’, which is contrary to the Environmental Management Act number 12 of the Laws of Zambia.
Ms Katongo said Mr Putter was arrested by the DEC’s anti-money laundering investigations unit on Monday.
It is alleged that Mr Putter, on dates unknown but between March 1 and May 29 this year with intent, did illegally trade and was unlawfully found in possession of 2,172 logs of mukula.
Ms Katongo said DEC has since seized the timber.
The suspect is currently on police bond and will appear in court soon.
Meanwhile, the DEC has arrested 55 people countrywide for alleged unlawful cultivation and trafficking in various quantities of cannabis.
Ms Katongo named some of the suspects as Jackson Muchochoma, 50, a charcoal producer of Chikwayo village in Chongwe for alleged unlawful cultivation of fresh cannabis plants weighing 15 tonnes and Skotch Chima, 24, a Malawian of Zifa village in Kasungu district in Malawi for allegedly trafficking in loose cannabis weighing 115 kilogrammes.
“Also arrested and jointly charged is Irene Chisenga, 35, a businesswoman of Kanyama township with her husband Cassius Samunji, 42, a peasant farmer of the same abode for trafficking in loose cannabis weighing 107.2 kilogrammes,” she said.

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