Timber industry loses thousands to Mozambican looters

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MUTARE: Border Timbers Limited Zimbabwe (BTLZ) lost timber worth $500,000 to smuggling after a Mozambican company, Light Sawmill, illegally cut pine trees for the past 20 months.
BTLZ owns Embeza Estate near Mozambican border with Zimbabwe.
Police have since arrested Fenuiasse Semende, 46, of Chadzuka village, Manica in Mozambique in connection with the theft.
Manicaland police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Luxon Chananda confirmed the arrest.
Semende, who is an employee of Light Sawmill Estate, appeared before magistrate Poterai Gwezhira on Saturday.
He was remanded in custody to August 24. Police have since launched a manhunt for Light Sawmill owner Lazarus Magura, 47, who is still on the run.
Magura allegedly master-minded the smuggling of timber through the porous Forbes Border post.
The two are being charged with theft as defined in section 113 of the criminal law (codification and reform) Act chapter 9:23.
According to State the pair, acting in cahoots, used a mobile sawmill and illegally harvested 32.73 hectares of pine forest valued at $556,000 between January 2014 and August 8 this year.
Prosecutor Brian Goto told the court that only $29,473.35 worth of timber was recovered.
“The two harvested timber from part of Embeza Estate between January 2014 and May 2015. They also cut down 17.73 hectares of pine forest worth $317 544.30.
“From June to August 6, the Mozambicans had harvested 15 hectares in compartment B098 worth $239 188.05,” said Goto.
The matter was reported to police by Byron Bengura, Border Timbers’ security officer leading to the arrest of Semende on August 8.
The saw mill was found at the scene and can be produced in court as exhibit.Advertisement