Timber cargo seized in Mozambique

The Mozambican Tax Authority has seized 900 cubic metres of ironwood logs that were about to be exported illegally to China from the small northern port of Mocímboa da Praia, according to the Mozambique Information Agency.

TM International, the shipper, told customs officials in the Indian Ocean port that the 52 containers of hardwood logs had a value of 137,000 meticais (about US$5,700). Amounting to just US$109 dollars per container, then, the figure is considered by tax officials to be an absurdly low estimate of the value of the precious species.

Legal proceedings are under way, which likely will result in a heavy fine for the company and permanent seizure of the logs.

Although the export of unprocessed hardwoods such as ironwood is illegal, it continues in Mozambique with the connivance of corrupt forest wardens and port staff. In most cases, China is the destination of these illegal cargoes.

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