The Anti-Corruption Unit in collaboration with police has arraigned a one, Sembwa Rabinson before the Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court on charges of illegal possession of forest produce.
The accused was found in possession of over 200 pieces of timber cut from Mabira forest following a search at his stores near the forest in Najjembe division, Lugazi Municipality.
“Sembwa is a notorious illegal logger who has repeatedly been arrested and charged over the same. He has been remanded until October 12, 2023,” The Anti-corruption Unit stated.
The Anti-corruption Unit commenced investigations into the illegal destruction of Mabira Forest following a directive from the president, to stop the illegal activities in Mabira Forest.
The president has always been vocal against this vice and on one occasion, he said “whoever destroys forests is an enemy of the country because forests work as a system and when one part of the system is tampered with, the entire system is affected.”
It is estimated that over 500,000 acres of forests are cut annually throughout Uganda, this is equivalent to deforesting 43 football fields every hour.
In 2021, Uganda lost 49,000 hectares of tree cover, equivalent to 23.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
The Anti-corruption Unit added, “Investigations which are still ongoing have so far revealed a number of illegal activities; encroachment for agriculture, logging, charcoal burning and creation of titles on forest land.”
“We need to safeguard our forests if we are to preserve our indigenous species and mitigate the effects of global warming. All culprits will be brought to book, to protect our forests,” they urged.