Sep 22, 2009, 5:59 AM
As the crusade against forest intruders intensifies, three men were over the weekend convicted by the Upper Fulladu District Tribunal in the Central River Region, to a fine of D6,000 each in default to serve eighteen months in prison.
The convicted persons were Bach Baldeh, alkalo of Brukko village, Bubacarr Jallow of Boraba village and one Eddy Wally of Darou village, all in CRR south.
They were convicted after admitting to the charge of illegal felling of trees in a community
All the convicted persons asked for forgiveness, saying that they are all family men, adding that the act was done due to family hardship and promised never to do it again.
According to the accused persons, they were approached by a businessman to trade and, because they were in need of money, they went into the forest without going through the right channels.
In his ruling, acting Chief Momodou Baldeh told them that family pressure should not warrant them to destroy the forest, as the importance attached to the forest could not be overemphasized.
“I will not compromise with anyone with the limited forest resources that are available in a particular locality, and the pride of the yet unborn depends on it,” he added.
Chief Baldeh applauded the Forestry personnel for their commitment to national development, and urged them to continue their close relationship with the communities, as the Forestry personnel could not do it all alone.
He consequently convicted and sentenced the men to a fine of D6, 000 each in default to serve eighteen months imprisonment, and ordered that the fine should be paid within six days.
Cherno Gaye, the Regional Forestry Officer in the Central River Region South, advised the people to desist from felling trees in the forest, saying that people should now realize the importance of the forest.
“We would not relent in our efforts to curb the menace of illegal logging and other forest destruction,” he emphasized.
It would be recalled that a month ago in the CRR a truck with registration number BJL 2574E was found loading 90 logs in Brukko village, and the matter was handed over to Forestry officials for further action.
Ousainou Cham, one of the delegates from the ministry who came to witness the court, said the forests were handed over to the communities for proper management, and urged them to utilize the forest resources wisely for domestic needs.