Press Release 21st March 2018
The Kenya Forest Service Board of Directors appreciates all Kenyans who came out to plant trees in commemoration of the International Day of Forests. During this year’s celebrations, more than 102,000 seedlings were planted, 10,000 tree seedlings in Karura Forest, and 2,000 in each of the other 46 Counties. This is part of the robust programme that the Board has put in place to fast track realization of 10% national tree cover by the year 2022, and 15% by the year 2030.
We appreciate the visibility and developments in the forest sector that has brought into light the status of apparent excessive harvesting of plantation forests. We also appreciate the very useful information from our partners on destruction of some of our indigenous forests.
The Board is concerned at the ongoing destruction of forests in the Country, and has taken action based on the information received from management, Internal Audit Unit and partners on the ground. The Board has also undertaken field missions to verify received information and has taken action on Officers found culpable.
Over the last three years, the Board has taken disciplinary action over such Officers. In the past two weeks, 26 Officers have either been asked to proceed on compulsory leave or have been interdicted pending full investigations. In addition, the Board has made several staff changes both in the field and the Headquarters.
During its tenure, the current Board has noted that most of the challenges facing the Service are systemic and deep rooted. As a Board the extent to which we can exhaustively delve on the issues of concern is limited by the information availed to us by Management.
Due to a lot of misinformation fed to the Board, we unanimously resolved to invite investigative agencies of Government including the EACC, to come on board and assist in investigating the various concerns. We require this agency to investigate all within KFS without favour. Management MUST give all the necessary support and information required. The Board was not aware that there had been a Task Force in 2015, which produced a report to the Parent Ministry, flagging issues that would have been beneficial to this Board, in enhancing resolution of the issues that continue to ail the Kenya Forest Service and the Forest Sector in Kenya.
Some of the issues that the Board is concerned about, include the abuse of plantation harvesting procedures that has led to the loss of substantive revenue due to the Service, and GOK. Also to note, the mismanagement of the Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Improvement Scheme (PELIS) that was intended to benefit subsistence farmers in forest adjacent communities. The Board has unearthed severe abuse of the PELIS scheme where an individual entity has been allocated 100HA in Ontulili forest purportedly under this scheme.
The Board wishes to clarify to the general public and the Community Forest Association members, that under PELIS the communities are only required to pay KSh. 250 per 1/2 acre per year for a period of three years by what time the trees would have taken over. This is part of enhancing food security and increasing income for communities neighboring forests. However, as the Board was not aware of ongoing PELIS plantation in Mt. Kenya. This was an un-procedural allocation of forest land. The Board together with the forest adjacent community shall undertake tree planting in this area on Saturday.
In view of these continued abuse of regulation and procedures, and in order to establish the extent of abuse and loss of revenue, the Board reiterates its resolve and request to our Parent Ministry to invite the Ethics And Anti-Corruption Commission to come in and assist.
Today is the International Day of Forests, I take this opportunity this opportunity to thank all those that planted trees today and encourage all Kenyans to take advantage of the ongoing rains to plants trees in all available spaces. Together we can reach the national tree cover target of 10% by the year 2022 and 15% by the year 2030.
Board Chairman, Kenya Forest Service
Video Link: https://t.co/rpaguWLQn1