The Mozambican customs authorities have seized 11 containers of logs that were about to be exported illegally to China from the northern port of Nacala, according to a report on the independent television station, STV. The owners of the logs declared that the containers were full of raw cotton. Apparently nobody at the port bothered to check, and the containers did not pass through the electronic scanners – for eight of the containers had been loaded before the fraudulent operation was discovered.
The logs are of red sandalwood, a protected species, and the containers, loaded with 480 cubic metres of logs, were transported to Nacala by rail. According to the customs service, the timber was being smuggled, not from Mozambique, but from Malawi.The matter is now in the hands of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Customs Tribunal, which will decide the final destination of the logs.This is the fifth seizure so far this year in Nacala of goods that were being smuggled out of the country under false pretences.The first seizure was of Mozambican cashew nuts. To avoid the payment of the surtax charged on exported raw nuts, the owner had declared that the cargo consisted of beans.