MINISTRY of Green Economy and Environment Permanent Secretary John Msimuko says authority was granted to TIJEM Enterprise Limited to export Mukula because of a court order.

In a letter dated November 26, 2021, Msimuko wrote to the chief executive officer for TIJEM Enterprise, informing the company that it had been granted authority to export Mukula timber as per the consent judgement dated May 27, 2021.

“I write in reference to the above stated subject. I am pleased to inform you that authority is hereby granted to TIJEM Enterprise Limited to export Mukula timber as per the consent judgement dated 27th May 2021. The authority is granted under the following conditions. Only quantities indicated in the Consent judgement shall be reported and your operations shall strictly be supervised by the Forestry Department, in collaboration with other government agencies as may be necessary. You are guided accordingly,” read the letter.

And in an interview, Msimuko emphasised that the ban on Mukula was still in effect.

“That particular company addressed in that letter obtained a consent judgement to allow them to export a particular number of logs of Mukula. Which is a historical matter, when we came into government, we examined it and we were informed as the ministry that we needed to comply with the Consent Judgement. So, that particular one is an exemption because it is a court order, you know the effect of a court judgement. It has actually nothing to do with the ban, the ban stands. I am not sure when they exported, I don’t have those details now but that letter was issued because of the same question you are asking. Everybody who is processing that consignment whether it is the Zambia Revenue Authority, the Zambia Police, National Service, are aware that there is a ban,” said Msimuko.

“We needed to issue that letter to make sure that there is that clarity in terms of the handling of that consignment. That consignment could have been handled any time after that date. It is not corruption as I have seen people alleging on social media, it is as a result of a court order which we verified when we came into office because obviously on face value it looks fishy or suspicious.”