The Department of Forest Management Affairs has submitted to the office of the Attorney General (AG) names of timber loggers who have failed to pay government for harvesting in Viphya Forest, popularly known as Chikangawa.
Over 37 timber loggers owe the government a total of K591 million and the department has been struggling to recover the money since 2012 as some debtors deny owing it anything in relation to the plantation.
Public Relations Officer for Environment and Climate Change Management in the Ministry of Natural Resources Sangwani Phiri on Sunday said only K10 million has been recovered from AKL limited.
“That is why we have been prompted to give the remaining names to the AG [Attorney General] to act either by involving the court or have a dialogue to settle the money out of court. But if the matter goes before court and they fail to adhere to the court ruling, chances are there that we might use sheriffs to impound their [debtors] property,” he said.
Phiri said in this regard the office of the AG has powers to decide on what action to take on the debtors.
“We would have done it on our own but because we are part of the government, the only way is to go through the AG. The files are there and they [Attorney General’s office] are going to handle everything,” he said
AG Kalekeni Kaphale confirmed receiving the names and said they have resorted to recover the money through the court.
“We have a section that is dealing with forestry and environmental affairs. We received those names. We have put in place a mechanism to collect the money. So proceedings are going to commence soon. We are recovering the money through court proceedings,” he said
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