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Station Officer receives fine for illegal logging

May 22, 2013, 10:00 AM | Article By: Ebrima Bah in Mansakonko

The Kiang West District Tribunal, presided over by Chief Alhagie Omar Gibba recently sentenced Momodou Lamin Fadera, a Police Station Officer at the Sankandi Police Station in Kiang West, to a fine of D3000, after he pleaded guilty to two charges of illegal entry to the forest and falling of trees without a permit.

The Lower River’s regional forestry officer Mr Sawaneh submitted before the court at Mandina Village that the police officer committed illegal entry to the forest and went ahead to fall down five mahogany trees, contrary to Section 116 of the Forestry Act.

According to him, the two charges attracted a fine of D26500, in default to serve a mandatory jail term.

Mr Fadera after admitting wrong doing told the court that his intention was not to cause damage to the forest, but to use the logs to raise funds to start building the foundation of a police station structure at Sankandi.

He pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, noting that he is responsible for the upkeep of two wives, seven children and six other relatives.

After his plea for mercy, other people present at the trial, mainly elders used the privilege given to them by the presiding chief to beg for mercy, on behalf of the police officer.

Chief, Alhagie Omar Gibba, in his ruling, said illegal logging is becoming rampant in the forest of Kiang West, and as custodians of the law they must play their role without fear or favour.

He said it is the duty of all citizens to protect and preserve the forest cover, especially at a time global warming is a serious matter.

He handed down to him a fine of D3000, in default to serve two months in prison.

In a separate but related happening, the Kiang West District Tribunal on the same day sentenced and fined Karamo Drammeh and Mustapha Daffeh from Jiffarong village to a fine of D5000 each, in default to serve six-month imprisonment for illegal logging into the forest.

The duo and one Lamin Drammeh, according to the particulars of offence are responsible for the illegal falling of eighty-five (85) chino trees, a damage which attracts a fine of D89,500, to be shared among the three accused persons.

However, at the time of the trial, Lamin Drammeh was said to have absconded.

Both Karamo Drammeh and Mustapha Daffeh made strong pleas for mercy with additional help from court attendants to earn them a fine of D5000 each.