Three containers of iron-wood about to be exported illegally to China have been confiscated in Nacala-Porto in Nampula province. The product was cut in a special closed season and had arrived at the port with false documentation declaring it cashew nuts.
The three containers were part of a total of five, two of which were exported last January. The three remained on Mozambican soil because it was not possible to load them at the time.
A Verdade speculates that the ease with which the wood in question passed through checkpoints on the basis of false documents leads to the presumption that the inspectors were somehow persuaded to turn a blind eye.
A source from the Customs in Nacala-Porto told @Verdade that the owners of the merchandise tried to deceive the authorities that it was cashew nuts, but an inspection team detected an anomaly and ordered the containers to be opened.
Surprisingly, the alleged cashew nuts turned out to be iron-wood, a species which, according to government officials, is rare in Nampula province and could only have been obtained fraudulently in Zambezia.
The Mozambican government has banned the cutting and export of ironwood for five years because it is in danger of extinction, for ignoring which the owners of the seized wood will incur a fine of one million meticals ( around US$16,367.00 at current exchange rates), to which will be added a further 500,000 meticais (US$8,183.00) because the wood was cut during the closed season.
The wood will revert to the state and a criminal case will be opened, our source reveals. As a result of the documents and containers being confiscated, the owners of the merchandise are known, although at the time of going to press no-one had been arrested or charged for a crime that would have cost the Mozambican state millions of meticais.
This is not the first time that large consignments of wood have been seized in Nacala-Porto. Four months ago, another two containers of illicitly trafficked wood were discovered there, this time masquerading as cotton fibre.
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