The cabinet secretary in charge of environment, Keriako Tobiko visited Kivale forest, Mbooni constituency, Makueni County on Friday, July 19, 2019 to address extravagant destruction as a result of illegal logging that has taken place in recent past.
Addressing members of the community neighbouring the forest after a fact-finding tour, the CS confirmed that despite the government ban on the vice,there were interdicted activities going on in the forest.
This comes after the call for intervention from Makueni senetor, Hon. Mutula Kilonzo Jr and surrounding community members to save the forest.
Four senior Kenya forest officers have been suspended following the visit. The officers are, the county forest officer, Mbooni sub-county forest officer, the forest officer at Kivale and the forest ranger in charge of Kivale.
The Cs further clarified that he’s in the process of seeking assistance from DPP Noordin Haji and DCI George Kinoti to nab government officers and cartels involved in illegal logging in Kivale forests.
The CS blamed senior government officers in the county and in KFS for failing to give the correct information on illegal activities in the forest. He said the officers made him understand the complains were politics until Senator Mutula Jr invited him to visit the forest.
“You have been vindicated. We have been treating the matter as politics but what I have seen, there is nothing to debate. We will do whatever we can to make sure what has been happening here will never happen again,” Tobiko added.
According to Tobiko more government officers were involved in the illegal activities and were cover-up in the case.
However, he reiterated that, all government officials and cartels involved will face disciplinary action.
He gave a restoration order in the forest to start within a period of 14 days and establishment of Community Forest Associations by KFS officers to help manage the forest.
The CS maintained that the moratorium placed by the government on logging in government forests stands.