domingo, 7 de outubro de 2012

Timber looting continues in Zambezia

Article and photos: Estacios Valoi 20/09/12 The alarming cases of forest looting in Zambezia are still mostly perpetrated by licensed companies who often have, as their source of supply, illegal exploiters, and who also fail to pay the fines stipulated by the SFFB for infractions of the law. The majority of fines are related to excessive timber cutting, while the volume loaded on trucks is generally way above the cutoff volume allowed by the agriculture department and also improperly filled in permits in attempt to trick the relevant supervisors. In the middle of August, the Green Timber company, was confronted with a similar situation and had to pay considerable fines. Throughout all this the chief of the forest and wildlife department in Zambezia Province Tomas Bastique, whilst trying to make light of the situation, loses himself in the timber labryinth. Infractions "During the first semester we registered 47 fines that have occurred concerning the following transgressions: improper completion of forms and improperly filled permits. All of this occurs whilst taking into account that our new operators are just starting their paper work. We had a period of educational form filling for operators, but when they continuously fail to fill in the form, they are obliged to pay a fine. For technical violations that are taking place, most of our operators do not estimate the real volume of timber while loading their goods in the field, and end up registering an underestimate of the volume cut, whilst in fact cutting above the volume that they had been authorized. A transported log has to be visibly marked with ink and not chalk. They also cut below the recommended diameter, which varies by species, with for example, Umbila having a minimum diameter of 40cm, Pau Ferro-30cm, 50cm-Chamfuta an Jambire -40 cm ". These infractions have been confirmed by our reporting: the timber that is being transported, often contradicts the measurements established by the SFFBZ, whilst also ramsacking neighboring concessions, such as the incident that occurred in the district of Gile between the Green Timber Company and Momade Issufo, a timber explorer. This episode resulted in the intervention of the police and even shots being fired. bullets in the air, with such incidents still occurring in some places within the province. We should emphasize that most of the companies that violate the forest law have operated in the area for over ten years, with others less than five – a fact that completely refutes the claims of the Chief of the SFFBZ that the "operators cannot estimate or properly calculate the volume of timber in the field, and the recommended diameters ". The fact is that despite the fines having been updated, increasing the amounts that these companies pay and reducing their profits in relation to the selling price on the international market, thus significantly impacting operators, this has not affected the amount cut. In fact this has resulted in the transportation of more cubic meters, the falsification of more documents or buying more false permits and delaying on paying the required fines for infractions in Mozambique. The average international market price for a plank of processed timber from Mozambique is "R $ 1,150.00 / M ³. The above price is only a benchmark taken from the Bica Corria species of timber, since each species varies in price by quantity and by the amount purchased per customer, with operators selling a minimum of 10m3. In Mozambique, ironwood from Zambezia ranges from 8 to 12 000 meticais(413.79 usd)." As part of our reporting, we asked the Chief of the forest agriculture department in the Zambezia province about the aforementioned case involving Green Timber and the Forestry operator Momade Issufo, where once again Green Timber was recently found by inspectors in the post of Mulevala with an excess volume of logs on their trucks. As you will read, he cautiously declined to mention names and locations: "Well in fact there has been a misinterpretation by our operators - this problem actually happened two years ago. We have already improved our database and our areas are properly inspected. Unfortunately I don’t have the registered data on me, but I promise to work on it and later provide the required information. I just wanted to say that by improving our database, all areas are registered, and we are working with operators together on the ground to indicate to them the limits of each other’s concessions. It is now the obligation of the operator to put a signpost to show where its area begins and ends”. New rates "We are working with the new 30th of December decree76/2011, which updates the values of the fines previously established by Article 41 of the forest law, which then ranged from 10 000 to 100 000 meticais(344- 3448USD)
. The new fines ranges from 100 thousand million to 1000 meticais (34 USD) ” Where for operating without a license, before the figure was 35 000 meticais, it now was increased to 500 thousand MT. This means that when we question a citizen carrying timber who cannot prove their origin, cannot show a proper transit guides and legal permits; we add the value of the product in question to the fine required. For example - if an operator loads about 10 to 40 m3, we increase the fine to 500 000 meticais, plus the value of this product. " Knocking down the law "As stated before, there are various types of infringements: cutting is often practiced by unlicensed persons. The authorization process also usually makes mistakes. There is cutting below the recommended diameter, improper filling of the permit or guides, and transporting or holding a volume of timber above the authorized amount." Zambezia currently has about 50 operating concessions licensed - with more in process and ranging from 5 to 20 thousand hectares, all of which are approved at the provincial level. For concessions of 100ha or more having to be approved by the ministry of agriculture through the council of ministers. The purpose of this process is to mainly create local industries, but in reality this is far beyond being a reality, as with the complicity of the SFFB, violations of the Forest law continue. "It is important here to note that the institution's aim is to promote forest concessions at the expense of simple licenses. The issue of industrial production and of proper management plans is essential, and is the first requirement for a person to obtain the concession license in a province. In some places there are not many operators who have carried out these requirements. Most timber dealers operating in Zambezia have their processing industries, but also cut in Nampula and Sofala without having the industrial processing facilities in place. We are in fact on the same territory, but processing facilities are monopolized by one province" If Sofala and Nampula are considered as the same province (which they are not – as processing industrial facilities are mainly located in the province of Zambezia), fact is that by using false provincial processing industries, the aim of the law ends up facilitating the illegal exit of logs with the connivance of some supervisors, who receive bribes of 5000 meticais onwards, allowing the smuggling of timber in trucks from Zambezia to Nacala Harbour. And the number of supervisors (78 in total) is not sufficient to cover an area of about 10 thousand hectares. "Currently the province has 58 inspectors. This number has just been reinforced. Two weeks ago we received an increase of 20 supervisors. We are working in coordination with the supervisory background in land development and management of national forest land and for the acquisition of facilities and equipment, as well as uniforms so we can properly equip our inspectors. The number of inspector does not meet the necessity of the extension of the province, but we believe that something can improve. " Reforestation "For the extension of the area of the province, 50% of the area is covered with forests - this means that half of the province is covered with forests and 90% is the productive forest where the timber comes from. The Province as a whole has about 10 million hectares, 5 million covered in forests and 4 million with productive forest - data from our inventory. " In terms of this reforestation prescribed by law, the operators pay the license, they are charged a vat tax of about 15%, which is used for the reforestation activity at the discretion of the state, which channels this to buy tree pots and seeds: We have two nurseries for native species in the Nicoadala district where we produce Chanfuta native species, as well as Jambiri and for the exotic species such as eucalyptus, and casuarinas. In the places where the timber has being extracted new communitarian forests, with new community leaders. But our action does not stop there, we work in coordination with our operators, we identify community leaders to be responsible for the forest and distribute the forest proceeds to the community level. One leader one forest: The failure policy of Guebuza’s Government “Our action does not stop on this guidance of a communitarian forest chief - we have real facts of forests already established within a forest plantation, and we keep moving forward. We don’t stop here. The replacement activity, especially for timber dealers, is provided for in its management plan that should make this grant sustainable - thus not only producing processing plants. 'And look at the regrowth. When a tree is cut down another one grows up, and most of our dealers have to control these new power plants that appear to grow. This also happens in our concessions, and is allied with this replacement activity that the state does. “Influences” Among the listed companies not operating by the law, Green Timber, in its recently foray in the Middle of August in the administrative post of Mulevala, Ile district, Zambezia province, had to pay to the SFFBZ 200,000 meticais for an excess of timber cutting, where they once again exceeded 10% of the volume allowed in the license - which is 500 m3 per year. According to sources the company has the protection of names of the Mozambican political nomenclature, as in the case of General Lídimo Lagos, the late Boniface Gruveta. According to the bulletin of the republic shows that Chanat (affiliated to Green Timber) is owned by Ken Tsou, Tina Tsou and Angela Tsou, with a partner called Carla Jacinto. The company also has concessions in the Niassa province and is now in Angola. They are also in cahoots with some leaders of the political class of Angola. In May of this year, in their shipyards in the province of Nampula, 2500 logs were seized. According to Sources regarding the case of Mulevala - the company should have paid a fine of 500 000 meticais instead of the 200 000 actually paid. In 2011 several times the Green Timber company held negotiations in order to buy concessions belonging to the son of the late General Gruveta from his son Edmund Gruveta. But at the time the deal led by Carla Jacinto did not have the desired effect and was eventually abandoned. But the list of those involved does not only extended to the Former governor of that province, but also falls on the current Itai Meque influence, who peddles in favor of that company in facilitating the process of acquisition of concessions as well as other facilities. Meetings were held between Carla Jacinto and Tina Tsou Jacinto with the current governor Itai Meque, who in the act of using his influence, made Rafik Vala, the previous provincial director of SFFBZ, order the engineer Antonio Chibite, chief of SFFBZ, to approve a license of simple exploitation. From the first floor, where Rafik Vala’s office was based, he would call the provincial director of agriculture department in Zambezia, one Chibite, on the lower floor, who was then orders to endorse the company's processes without blinking - facts witnessed and confirmed by our reporting, who were present that time in his office. In the same year during the presentation of the balance sheet on the development of Zambezia the provincial governor, Itai Meque, claimed his achievements exceeded 200% - this consisted of reports which tried to trick the President of the Republic, Armando Emilio Guebuza. Chibite was then used as a "scapegoat" and was removed from his duties as Chief of SFFBZ during a public appearance, in the presence of the Mozambican agriculture minister Jose Pacheco

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