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One hundred containers with about 2,000 cubic metres of wood in logs were detected and seized on the basis of several irregularities in Beira in Mozambique’s central Sofala province on Tuesday.
The wood is from the central provinces of Manica and Tete and was about to be exported to Asia.
According to Notícias, the lot is part of 400 containers inspected in a lightning operation by a multi-sectoral team composed of the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development (MITADER), the National Quality Control Agency (AQUA), customs and the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM).
Among the irregularities detected were the transportation of logs and the export of species such as mondzo, black chacate, sandalwood and others which is prohibited by law.
AQUA’s Arsenio Chelengo told reporters that the seized wood reverts to the state and the company will be fined in accordance with the law.
“All forestry operators know that the law in force in the country prohibits the export of timber in log form,” Chelengo said.
The team that detected the undeclared wood was headed by the MITADER inspector-general Emília Fumo, who was accompanied by the director general of AQUA, Eduardo Samuel. At the port, the inspectors ordered the opening of more than 400 containers carrying wood to check the legality of the contents.
Notícias reports that the operation was triggered by a tip-off from a reliable source, though some of the containers did contain sawn wood and could accordingly be exported.
According to the port authorities, the owners of the timber could also be fined for having made false statements about the legality of the product being exported.
The Port of Beira receives forest products from almost all provinces in the centre of the country. The seized timber comes from the provinces of Manica and Tete, and the owners are Asian.
On March 1st, “Operation Tronco” was launched by the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development, with the aimed of curbing the rapid depletion of forest resources. Considerable quantities of illegally felled wood were detected and confiscated as a result.
The wood seized during the operation is being used for the manufacture of school desks, a distribution campaign for which was launched on Saturday by President Filipe Nyusi.Source: AIM Moçambique