The Lundazi magistrates’ court has fined a 24-year -old businessman of Chief Zumwanda K500 or in default serve three months imprisonment for unlawful possession of Mukula tree logs while his three alleged accomplices have denied the charge.
Before magistrate Milton Nyirenda were Paul Chipeta ,24, of Dunda compound, Chipa Mtonga ,28, of Chenje farms, Punda Sakala ,38 of Chiphunda farms and Mungelo Zgambo, 37, all from Chief Zumwanda area.
The offence is contrary to section 120[b] of the environmental management act number 12 of 2011.However, three other suspects have pleaded not guilty to the charge.
It i s alleged that the four on July 24 jointly and while acting together with other persons unknown unlawfully had in their possession 116 logs of Mukula timber which have potential use and value to humanity.
But when the matter came up for plea Chipeta admitted the charge and the court fined him accordingly while the three other suspects denied the charge.
The court adjourned the matter to 12 August 2014 for written facts and trial in respect of the other three men who denied the charge.
In mitigation Chipeta appealed to the court to exercise lenience on him because he had school going children and that his wife was on ART treatment.
However magistrate Nyirenda said the Mukula tree should be protected both by members of the public and government and that it was the duty of the courts to mete out stiffer punishment to deter would be offenders.