• The posts from Aberdare Forest were estimated to be worth Sh30,000
• Nyandarua county commissioner warned cartels destroying government forests that their days are over
Two people were on Wednesday at dawn arrested after they were found smuggling 100 red cedar poles using a police vehicle.
The posts from Aberdare Forest were estimated to be worth Sh30,000. One cedar post is sold at Sh300.
He said it was not immediately confirmed if the two individuals, whose names were not revealed, were police officers.
The vehicle, which belongs to Kipipiri subcounty Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU) commander, was intercepted at 5am at Kariamu trading centre in Ol Kalou, by Kenya Forest Service officers who were acting on a tip-off from members of the public.
The police vehicle, GKB 376 U, was impounded and taken to KFS offices in Ol Kalou, where the two occupants were temporarily detained and later handed over to Ol Kalou police station.
Nyandarua county eco-conservator Stephen Karega said residents have been reporting to his office about a police vehicle that has been smuggling cedar posts from the Aberdare Forest.
He said the posts were ferried to Gilgil and Naivasha for sale three days a week – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“I planned an ambush which was executed this morning. One cedar post is sold for Sh300 in the market," he said
Karega said members of the public have heeded the President’s call and spirited campaign championed by Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia and the county commissioner on environmental protection.
“But there are a few individuals who want to make quick cash. We are warning them they can engage in other activities because we are not going to relent on this war,” Karega said.
Nyandarua county commissioner Boaz Cherutich said he has ordered thorough investigations to establish who is involved in the illegal business. He said those responsible would face the full force of the law.
“We are warning the few individuals who think they can continue smuggling cedar posts from the gazetted government forests that their days are numbered,” he said
The administrator said the surveillance conducted by various stakeholders has borne fruit.
Two months ago, he said, another government vehicle carrying 200 posts was intercepted in Mirangine and the matter is in court.
In November last year, a canter carrying 500 posts was impounded in Ndaragwa. It is still being held at Ndaragwa police station and the matter is in court.
“I commend the Kenya Forest Services officers who did this good job. Those are the kind of officers we need. But for the lazy ones who are not willing to help the government root out the cartels destroying our forests, their day will come," he said.
Edited by A. Ndungu