District in a fraudulent sale of forest

HUYE – Authorities in the district are investigating circumstances under which a natural resource base which forms part of district forest cover was sold off to a businessman purportedly to raise money for classroom construction under the nine year basic education programme, The New Times has learnt.
Some of the trees cut down for timber and firewood production in a deal authorized without the district’s knowledge. (Photo: P. Ntambara)
Some of the trees cut down for timber and firewood production in a deal authorized without the district’s knowledge. (Photo: P. Ntambara)

HUYE – Authorities in the district are investigating circumstances under which a natural resource base which forms part of district forest cover was sold off to a businessman purportedly to raise money for classroom construction under the nine year basic education programme, The New Times has learnt.

Immediately after the sale, a preliminary investigation carried out by The New Times has revealed that the forest measuring 8.3hectares located in Kinazi Sector was cut down for timber, charcoal and firewood production by the contracted business man Emmanuel Ndayisaba.

According to reliable sources, Ndayisaba supplied bricks equivalent to Rwf1.4million and Rwf200, 000 in cash to Kinazi Sector authorities to complete the forest deal.

The total amount of Rwf1.6million for the 8.3hectares of forest which forms part of the district’s vital forest cover is considered as being too low by sources conversant with the business.

Apart from selling off the forest at a throw away price, Sector authorities did not have the competence to engage in a transaction of such a nature, it has emerged.

According to Francois Uhagaze, the district Mayor, the district has written to the Kinazi Sector Executive Secretary Jean Pierre Habimana to explain the circumstances under which the Sector authorised the cutting down of trees.

“To the best of my knowledge, the Sector has no competence to allow the cutting down of such a huge chunk of forest. We are conducting our own internal investigation as prosecution conduct theirs”.

The Mayor was non-committal on the amount that was fetched from the transaction saying that ‘there is no standard offer for natural resources of this nature to base on’.

Apart from the suspected foul play in the forest deal, the land has been left bare exposing the largely steep slopes to erosion.

Upon being contacted, Mr. Habimana, the Kinazi Sector Executive Secretary could not be reached as he repeatedly declined to answer his mobile phone.

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