Five traditional leaders in Dedza have been fined K50,000 each for cultivating in a forest.
This comes amid warnings from the ministry of natural resources, energy and mining over encroachment into the protected areas.
Confirming the conviction of the chiefs to Malawi24, the ministry’s publicist Sangwani Phiri identified the convicts as village headmen Nkwaila, Mtandamaha, Matenje, Dengu and Michael from the district.
He said the men were arrested last week for encroaching into and cultivating in Mua Forest Reserve in Dedza district.
Phiri said the five between September and October were cultivating in the forest without permission from the ministry.
“As such officials from the department of forest together with Malawi Police Service apprehended them to answer the charge of encroachment contrary to section 64 of the penal code,” he said.
They were later ordered to pay K50,000 each or in default to spend 18 months in prison.
The five managed to pay K50,000 each.
Group village headman Nkwaila comes from Nkaja village while the others are from Kabulika village, both villages are in Traditional Authority Kachindamoto in Dedza.
The ministry has therefore appealed to chiefs in the country to avoid such immoral behaviour but rather to be at forefront condemning the same.