Kenyan authorities seize 700 bags of charcoal from Uganda

Coal
One of the lorries detained at the Kenya Forest Service offices in Nakuru on April 24, 2018.

Kenya Forest Service officers seized 700 bags of charcoal illegally imported from Uganda.

The officers arrested one person and impounded two lorries in Nakuru that were ferrying the contraband on Tuesday evening.

Mau Forest regional boss David Mutoro said one lorry was seized after it was involved in a crash on the Eldoret-Nakuru highway.

The driver of the lorry was arrested and he informed the officers about the second lorry was transporting charcoal on the same route.

“We found documents showing that the charcoal had been imported from Uganda but we did not get the required clearance certificate by the KFS,” said Mr Mutoro.

He said they sought to arrest the driver of the second lorry, but he escaped.

Mr Mutoro each lorry was loaded with 350 bags of charcoal estimated to cost Ksh1.4 million ($13,986).

The lorries were towed to the KFS offices in Nakuru town.

A recent ban on charcoal burning in Kenya has caused an acute shortage of the commodity in the country that has seen a spike in prices.

Ban

In February, Deputy President William Ruto suspended logging in forests for a period of three months citing acute water shortage caused by destruction forest cover.

Early this month, Uganda banned the export of charcoal to Kenya in an effort to protect its forests.

At the Ugandan border town, cross-border business has since boomed with some market traders abandoning their craft for the charcoal trade.

Godfrey Oundo Ongwabe, the national cross-border trade chairperson, told NTV Uganda that traders were now bringing charcoal from as far northern and western Uganda.

In Busia, charcoal prices have more than double from Ush35,000 ($10) to Ush80,000 ($22) per sack in just one week, NTV reported.