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Six tons worthy Sh 24M of sandal wood set ablaze in Baragoi

Six tonnes of sandalwood worth Sh 24 million has been set ablaze at the Deputy County Commissioner’s compound in Baragoi town, Samburu North sub-county, following a court order.

Five people, arrested in connection with illegal transportation of the sandalwood on Barsaloi-Baragoi road in November 2019, were found guilty and fined Sh50, 000 each by a Maralal court.

The county’s Ecosystem Conservator Charles Ochieng said the sandalwood and a lorry that was being used to transport it were forfeited to Kenya Forest Service (KFS) by a trial court in Maralal but the lorry’s owner later appealed the case in Nanyuki.

“The lorry’s owner applied for a review of the case that had been heard before a Maralal trial court and the high court decided that the ruling was not appropriately done by the trial court and ruled that the lorry be returned to the owner,” Ochieng said.

Ochieng thanked the county’s security agencies led by county commissioner’s office for working with KFS against illegal profitable sandal wood business in the county.

He said communities are significantly contributing to the illegality, adding that his office and other security agencies have put in place measures to end it.

“Sandalwood is being harvested by locals in community forests who later on sell it to businessmen. The business is profitable, attracting many people, despite arrests but we will continue making arrests and prosecuting people in court until it stops completely,” he said.

However, residents support government’s decision against the sandalwood business in the region but seemed unhappy with a government decision to set ablaze the sandalwood after the court’s order.

“Sh24m is a lot of money, government ought to have sold that sandalwood and pumped money into community projects such as drilling boreholes,” a resident proposed.

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