Seized Dar Timber Containers Originated in Zambia Report Finds

Posted by Online Editor on Mon 18 December, 2017

Trucks In Tanzania

Trucks in Tanzania

Both Zambian and Tanzanian governments had investigated the shipment of the containers from Zambia via Tunduma, before it was found that the freight did not have proper documentation.

After impounding, the Tanzanian government notified their Zambian counterparts, prompting government officials on both sides to visit the former Tanzanian state owned shipping company, NASACO in Dar es Salaam, where the containers were stored on 27th November 2015.

It was learnt that the documents supporting the shipment originated at Tunduma, meaning that there was no paperwork proving the logs had come from Zambia.

28 other containers containing logs also transported from Zambia were found at NASACO premises as well, bringing the total number of containers to 59.  This prompted the Tanzania Forest Services to conduct further investigations until owners provided evidence proving the legality of their shipment to Tanzania via Tunduma.

The investigation found that the procedures used to transport the first 31 containers were illegal to ship the consignment to Tanzania due to violating Zambia's forest laws.

According to Zambian forestry regulations, it is illegal to harvest and transport logs out of the country without a permit from the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. The report also stated that the shipment also violated Tanzania's Forest Act 2002 and its regulations of 2004 as they lacked a Zambian Phytosanitary Certificate, Zambian Certificate of Origin, Zambian Export Permit & Transit Pass and Tanzanian Inspection Permit.

Despite the lack of supporting documentation from Zambia, clearing and forwarding agents hired to clear the shipment of logs testified that the containers came from Zambia.

Investigations established that the logs were harvested near Isoka, around 50 km from the Nakonde-Tunduma border.

The second batch of 28 containers stored at NASACO premises also had no legal documents supporting their entry in to Tanzania.

It was found that all the clearing and forwarding companies involved in clearing the impounded containers were based in Dar es Salaam. These were - Salsabil Investment Limited, Best Oceanair (T) Limited, Dar es Salaam Global Access, Planatlantic Geofreight Limited and Horizon Freight Forwarders.

The Tanzanian public prosecutor ordered for further investigations under which, the clearing and forwarding agents were ordered to submit documentation to a task force of four officials for scrutiny within 30 days but when the deadline reached, only four agents managed to do so, namely Dar Global Access Limited, Panatlantic Geofreight Limited, Pedro Gargo (T) Limited and Salsabil Investment.

After scrutiny of the documentation submitted by these four agents, it was established that they were problematic and therefore illegal. Best Ocean Air Co. Limited, Alvay and Champion failed to submit documents related to forest products, only providing Tanzania Revenue Authority documents relating to taxes only.

The four-man task force advised that a criminal investigation be conducted against all individuals involved in the matter in preparation for file case in court.

During 7th-9th June 2016, a delegation from Zambia led by their Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection visited Tanzania, where they held talks with Tanzanian officials over this matter among other issues.

During the meeting, the Zambian delegation scrutinised the documents that were submitted by the clearing and forwarding agents to support the harvesting and transportation of 59 containers of logs to Dar es Salaam, after which it was proven that the documents were not issued by the Zambia's Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

The unfolding events forced the Chief Executive Officer of Tanzania Forest Services on April 6th 2016 to instruct the Tanzanian Director of Public Prosecutions to file charges against individuals linked with the containers.

However, it is reported that three owners of the impounded containers of logs have filed cases at the High Court-Dar es Salaam Zone against Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania Forest Services and the Attorney General. The owners are Agro Tech Zambia Limited, Norma Resources Zambia Limited and Sino Africa Limited.

Miombo Woodland

Zambian miombo woodland

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timber smuggling TAX tanzania zambia