Ncheu Second Grade Magistrate Court Wednesday convicted nine people for cultivating in Dzonzi-Mvai Forest Reserves where over 200 hectares of land has been encroached.

The nine, two women and seven men pleaded guilty to charges of cultivating in a forest reserve without authority and were arrested last week by Police in the district.

The charge contravenes section 64 of Forest Act of 2020 and attracts a punishment of 5 Million Kwacha besides a 10-year jail sentence.

Appearing before court Wednesday, State Prosecutor, Inspector Samie Liwonde from Ntcheu Police Station pleads for stiffer sentences saying the convicts conduct was affecting water supply system in the district.

“Handing stiffer punishments to the convicts will deter would-be offenders and had intention of encroaching into government-protected areas,” said Liwonde.

Meanwhile, Second Grade Magistrate, Peter Mkuzi said the case returns to court Friday 6 November 2020 for sentencing.

Dzonzi-Mvai Forest Reserve in Ntcheu has for decades faced massive deforestation due to human activities.

Over 200 hectares of land has been encroached by both locals and foreign Mozambican nationals who practice farming in the protected area which covers over 10, 000 hectares of land.

Credit: Zodiak Online

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