Man charged with removing protected tree species
18 May 2016, 19:28
Narok - A 30-year-old man was yesterday arraigned before in a Narok court and charged with illegally removing over 1.8tonnes of a protected tree species known as sandal wood which is a rare and protected species of trees under the Kenya Forest Act 2005.
Geoffrey Maina Muchiri appeared before Narok Chief Magistrate Ms. Wilbroda Juma charged that on May 16th, this year at Nchoroi forest in Narok South Sub-county, he removed a protected species namely 1.8tonnes of sandal wood with a street value of Sh720, 000 without a permit from the Kenya Forest Service (KFS).
The accused person pleaded not guilty and was released on a bond of Sh.200, 000 with one surety of the same amount. The case will be heard on June 2nd.
Sandal wood is a rare tree species used for making perfumes and this makes it to be on high demand on the world market especially in some East African and Asian countries.
The Kenya Forest Act NO.7 of 2005 has classified the sandal wood as a protected species of trees and therefore should be removed only with a permit from the Conservator of Forests. Its protection is also guided by a presidential decree.
Last month, two men were two weeks ago ordered to pay total fines of Sh.140, 000 or serve a total of six months in jail by a Narok Court after they admitted illegally transporting 1.3 tonnes of sandal wood.
Environmental conservationists are now voicing concern over the rampant destruction of the Mau complex which is the largest water tower in the country. Currently, there are numerous similar cases pending before Narok Courts, an indicator that illegal logging is rampant in the area.
The government recently proposed excision of 17,000 hectares of Mau water tower to settle the landless but this was met with a lot of hue and cry from the members of Maasai community who vowed to resist any move to excise any part of this water tower.
In July last year, Narok County Environment Technical committee banned the burning, sale and transportation of charcoal and other forest products from Narok County with immediate effect but this seem to have done little to deter this illegal trade.
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