The Machinga Second Grade Magistrate Court has sentenced three men to nine months in jail for being found with five bags of charcoal.
The three convicts are Friday Matchani aged 50, Kenneth Saveya, 35, and Kaunda Wailesi aged 42. They were convicted for being found in possession of forest produce without a permit which is contrary to section 68 of Forest Act.
When presenting facts in court, Prosecutor Rodrick Kamuona told the court that on 20th October 2016, the Department of Forest conducted a joint operation with police officers in protected areas within Machinga.
Whilst on duty they managed to arrest three suspects who were trafficking charcoal without a permit.
The prosecutor said Matchaya and Saveya were found with two bags each while Wailesi was found with one bag.
Kamuona asked the court to impose stiffer punishment to the convicts for they are contributing to climate change due to wanton cutting down of trees for charcoal making.
During mitigation all the convicts prayed for a light punishment such as community service punishment or fine for they are all bread winners.
When passing judgement, Second Grade Magistrate Maxwell Boazi concurred with the prosecutor that being found in possession of forest produce is a serious offence and that the three are contributing to climate change therefore he slapped them to nine months imprisonment with hard labor (IHL) without option of a fine.
Friday Matchani hails from Mpamanda village T/A Malemia Zomba, Keneth Saveya is from Makina Village T/A Kaduya Phalombe while Kaunda Wailesi hails from Matupa village Traditional Authority Chamba Machinga