A Narok Court has fined two men Ksh 50,000 each or sentenced them to 11 months in prison for illegally cutting indigenous cider trees in the Sanangori section of Mau Forest in Narok County.
Douglas Maroto and Amos Kiplangat pled guilty to cutting forest produce in government forest, in violation of the Forest Conservation and Management Act, before Narok Chief Magistrate Samuel Mungai.
Forest Protection Officers apprehended the pair while they were in possession of 11 cedar poles that they had curled out after felling trees without permission, license, or permit.
James Kwambai, a Kenya Forest Service (KFS) officer, told the court that the land in question is an important water tower, and that the court should impose a severe penalty.
The court heard that on March 2, 2022, at around 4:30 p.m., in the Sanangori area of Mau Forest in Narok North Sub County, the two, along with others not before the court, were caught cutting down forest produce without a permit from the chief conservator of forests, using two pangas, one axe, one mallet, and one metal chisel.
The couple, who are first-time offenders, asked for mercy, alleging that they were new to the area and had been misled by others while hunting for work.
They both stated that they would never do such a thing again and requested that the court consider a community service penalty.
The Chief Magistrate considered all factors before denying them a non-custodial sentence.