City council probes officers over cargo containers

The Blantyre City Council (BCC) has launched an investigation on three of its officers for allegedly being involved in corrupt deals, Nyasa Times can reveal.

The Council is investigating the officers for their roles in letting cargo containers be planted across Blantyre and Limbe Central Business Districts (CBDs), a development that is denying plot owners to develop their plots.

According to the Council’s by-laws it is illegal for anyone to place the cargo containers anywhere within the city vicinity but of late there has been a proliferation of the containers which are placed anywhere in the two CBDs as long as there is space.

Ted Nandolo: Blantyre City Council CEO

The cargo containers are mainly used by foreigners, particularly Nigerians, Burundians, Rwandese, and Tanzanians as shops for clothes, cosmetics and groceries.

A source told Nyasa Times the Council instituted a team to investigate the Enforcement Officer, Davie Malemia, Assistant Security Officer, Peter Chipanga and former Legal Officer, Vine Mchoma on allegations that they are pocketing money by giving spaces to business people particularly foreigners so that they place their containers.

“The three are suspected of being the ones giving spaces to business people to place their containers to be used as shops in the city,” said the source close to the investigating team.

The investigations team, which was appointed by the Director of Administrative Services, Alfred Chanza, last month, comprises Francisco Mpokwa, a Legal Clerk, Henry Gondwe, a Town Planning Officer and unionists, and Electrical Stores Officer, Joyce Machero and an Administrator, Janet Mwale.

“So far, the team has concluded its investigations after interviewing all container operators and the vendors committee both in Limbe and Blantyre, and has submitted its report to Legal Officer Mphatso Matandika before a verdict is made.

“Interestingly, the team discovered that most container owners have legitimate business licenses issued by the Council and duly signed which implies that the officers who process licenses could also be connected to the issue,” said the source.
The Council launched investigations following pressure on the Chief Executive Ted Nandolo from plot owners who are failing to have access to their plots and develop them because they are occupied by the containers.

“Some owners of plots have actually threatened to sue the council because they think the Council sold their plots to other people,” she said.

In a related development, Chanza has also appointed another team toinvestigate some members of staff who are suspected of leaking the Council’s scandals to the media particularly Nyasa Times.

The members of the team have been promised promotions and training opportunities among other favors by Chanza, according to our source.

She disclosed that the investigators are working independently such that some members of this clandestine group do not even know each other.

But Nyasa Times investigations have revealed that the team has Accountant, Grant Chaluluka, Petty Cash Administration Officer, Luckson Grant, Chief Town Planning Officer, Nanariwa Nanguwo, acting HIV/AIDS Coordinator Rose Ngaiyaye, Administrator, Adrian Mpinganjira, Mphatso Matandika and Davie Malemia (who is also being investigated for corrupt deals).

Some of the suspects have already been suspended on petty cases and Chanza is currently working on having them dismissed.

“He is craftily using Matandika, Human Resources Manager, Alfred Nyengo and Chairperson of the Appointments and Disciplinary Committee, Sylvester Mitini-Nkhoma to have them dismissed,” revealed the source.

This team is, among others, investigating Chief Environmental Health Officer, Peterkins Chisoni, Assistant Finance Director, Alex Mshali, Systems Analyst, Nervous Ngapemba and Vine Mchoma.

For two years Chisoni acted as BCC Director of Health before the position was given to a Dr. Kanjunjunju while Msyali acted as Director of Finance for more than three years before the Council hired a Mr. Chisamba, whereas Ngapemba had been in charge of the computer section for a decade.

Chipanga has acted as Security Officer for several years before the position was given to Patrick Chikoko while Miss Mchoma has been heading the Legal Section for over 12 years before Matandika took over while she was demoted to become a mere Legal Officer for the Department of Planning.
Having frustrated these people not to get the positions they acted for, Chanza thinks they are the ones leaking BCC information and scandals and he has since vowed to completely deal away with them.

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