Ten men jailed for settling in Dzalanyama Forest

A court in Lilongwe has sentenced ten men to two years in prison for residing in Dzalanyama Forest and engaging in charcoal production.

Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa handed the sentences yesterday in Lilongwe.

State Prosecutor Damiano Nyasulu told the court that the men built temporary houses in the forest where they were producing charcoal.

The men also had shops where they were selling kachasu beer and running grocery shops within the forest.

Police were tipped off about the men’s activities. Police officer and officials from the Forestry Department later busted the illegal settlers.

In court, themen  were found guilty, on their own plea, of residing in a forest reserve without authority, contrary to Section 64 of the Forest Act.

Prosecutor Nyasulu narrated that the men had destroyed the water catchment area for Lilongwe City; hence the need to mete out harsh sentences.

Passing sentence, Chief Resident Magistrate Chirwa concurred with the state and ordered the ten men to spend the next two years in prison.