The Anti-Corruption Unit, in collaboration with Uganda Police, has charged a suspect identified as Rabinson Sembwa with illegal possession of forest produce and placed him in custody until October 12, 2023.
Following a search of his stores in the Najjembe division of the Lugazi Municipality, the Anti-Corruption Unit reported on September 27, 2023, that the accused was in possession of 200 pieces of timber cut from the Mabira forest.
“Sembwa is a notorious illegal logger who has repeatedly been arrested and charged over the same offense. However, investigations are still ongoing; so far, a number of illegal activities—encroachment for agriculture, logging, charcoal burning, and the creation of titles on forest land—have been revealed,” the statement reads in part.
According to the Anti-Corruption Unit, it is estimated that over 500,000 acres of forests are cut annually throughout Uganda; this is equivalent to deforesting 43 football fields every hour.
Investigations into the illegal destruction of Mabira Forest followed a directive from H.E., the President, to stop the illegal activities in Mabira Forest. The President said that whoever destroys forests is an enemy of the country because forests work as a system, and when one part of the system is tampered with, the entire system is affected.