Mangochi First Grade Magistrate court has ordered 12 men to pay a fine of K50,000 each for settling on protected land.
The 12 are Saidi Jaffar, 35, Yasin Ayatu aged 20, Adini Amadu, 35, Mandevu Asibu aged 54, Eliya Yasin aged 35, Mphatso Juwawo, 28, Christopher Chakwana aged 22, Yusuf Ali, 48, Mustafa M’bwana, 53, Ali Maluwa aged 65, Sharton Saidi and Katimbe Yanjesi, 30.
Presenting facts in court, Prosecutor Sub Inspector Maxwell Mwaluka based at Mangochi police station told the court that on July 28, 2017 Justen Kauwa of Mangochi Forestry Department jointly with other law enforcers from police and National Parks and Wildlife conducted patrol at Namizimu forest which is a government protected area.
“In the process they found the twelve men settled in the forest, destroying vegetation and government natural forest using prohibited tools and weapons like axes, hoes, pit-saw and panga knives.
They were all arrested and the weapons were seized,” Mwaluka told the court.
In court all the accused persons pleaded guilty to the charge of encroaching into the prohibited area.
When passing judgement his worship first grade magistrate Ronald M’bwana slapped each of them with a K50,000 fine or in default two years jail term in order to serve as a lesson to other would be offenders.
So far, only two people have paid the fine and the rest are in prison.
All the twelve hail from Traditional Authority Katuli in the lakeshore district of Mangochi.