Managing director of Pacific Group of Companines, Faizalo Aboo has reacted to remarks made by Blantyre City South legislator Sameer Suleman that 80% of the whole of Limbe is currently owned by two individuals and that one of them owns over 50 hectares of land where he is fish farming, saying the remarks were unfounded and demands the legislator to withdraw the statement in parliament.
Suleman, who was contributing to ta private member’s motion moved by DPP’s Mulanje Bale legislator Victor Musowa, clamed he has a petition from the people of Chiwembe Housing where he alleged Aboo has displayed such arrogance so as to build a fence right on the main road;that he is untouchable as he repairs boreholes and is on the verge of “being given” 48 hectares of land by Blantyre CityCouncil and Ministry of Lands known as Chigumula Forest.
In a statement seen by Nyasa Times, Pacific Group said although Suleman refrained from directly naming the company, but it is left in no doubt that Suleiman was referring to Pacific Group given that it is the only entity that operates a fish farm in Limbe, known as Chambo Fisheries.
Reads the statement in part:“Although we do not as a matter of course respond to false allegations made against our company, we are left with no option in this instance given the nature, severity and consequences of Hon. Suleiman’s accusations.”
Land ownership in Limbe
The company said it is “surprised and perplexed” by the statement that 80% of the land in Limbe is owned by two individuals.
“We wonder if Hon. Suleiman made a reasonable, if any inquiry, into this assertion and would welcome the facts or statistics he may have relied on, if any. In fact, we would encourage Hon. Suleiman to disclose this information, if he has such, into the public domain so that the public whom he was addressing is fully informed.
On the 50 hectares of land for fish farm, Pacific Group contends that Suleiman was referring to Chambo Fisheries.
“This land was lawfully acquired in 2006 where the Pacific Group, amongst other developments, has invested in a state-of-the-art aquaculture development. We believe this is in accordance with the Government of Malawi’s endeavours to promote homegrown development, increase employment and drive our nations export base.
Fence and boreholes
Aboo said his company is unaware of the complaint from Chiwembe Housing and categorically deny building the fence as claimed.
“The fence, if any, does not belong to Pacific Group or its associated businesses, and this assertion is totally without merit.”
The Pacific Group has also clarified in the statement that it has endeavoured to repair boreholes in rural areas throughout Malawi as part of its corporate social responsibility programme. It said the programme commenced in early 2015 and to date they have repaired or rehabilitated 2,778 boreholes throughout Malawi.
“We believe that in doing so, we are complimenting Government’s efforts to provide a clean source of water for our fellow Malawian brothers and sisters. To quantify this impact, over a trillion man hours have been saved in this rehabilitation initiative by reducing the distance to source clean water.
“However, what we categorically refute is the claim that this programme grants us ‘untouchable status.’ We are of the firm view that each and every individual is equal before the law, and that no single individual is beyond reproach,” reads the statement.
Aboo has also refuted the allegation that he is on the verge of being given 48 hectares of land at Chigumula Forest, saying Suleman statement is untrue and totally without merit.
“We would like to inform the general public and all Malawians that Pacific Group of Companies is a law-abiding entity that has complied with all of its tax and other legal obligations without fail.
“Our business has and continues to be run in a lawful and ethical manner. We are proud to state that we provide employment directly to over a thousand Malawians, and through our various infrastructure developments we have created indirect employment for multiple thousands. We also continuously create indirect employment by working hand in hand with small and medium enterprises thus furthering their growth; promote the Government of Malawi’s development policies whilst supporting the Malawi community through many charitable projects.”
Pacific said the statements by Suleiman are false and without any merit.
“His focus on our acquisition of property is both unfortunate and misplaced. We would like to place it on record that all property acquired by the Pacific Group is and will continue to be in accordance with the Land Act, Registered Land Act and all applicable laws of Malawi,” reads the statement.
The company reminded Suleiman of their constitutional rights:
- to acquire and own land in Malawi under section 28 of the Constitution;
- to freely engage in economic activity, to work and pursue a livelihood anywhere in
Malawi under section 29 of the Constitution;
“We are thus disappointed that he has chosen to target us in this manner. We recognise that Parliamentarians are afforded privilege regarding utterances that form part of proceedings in the National Assembly. We also recognise the importance of this provision and that Parliamentarians be given liberty to discuss issues of National Importance.
“However, we implore Hon. Suleiman to recognise the platform afforded to him in the August House where proceedings are now broadcast live on television. Further, with the advent of social media, now more than ever, these statements are broadcasted to a large audience and at a rapid pace. It must be recognised that statements made by Honourable Parliamentarians during the course of their deliberations may be taken as gospel truth by lay members of the public. There is thus a strong duty on all Parliamentarians, including Hon. Suleiman to ensure their statements are fair, reasonable and verified.”
Regrettably, the company said, Suleman statements have caused substantial harm to the Pacific Group.
“ We are faced with threats of demonstrations and vandalism to our properties, whilst our directors are subjected to threats to their person, all as a result of false and baseless statements by Hon. Suleiman.
“His statements border on defamation and character assassination and have the potential to incite racial tensions against the Asian community in Malawi. Malawi is a peace-loving nation and such instances have no place in our beautiful nation.”
Pacific said if Suleiman has any “personal grievances “against the company or directors, he should to reach out to them directly where any such differences can be best resolved and request that unless he is able to substantiate his allegations, the MP should withdraw the statements on the same platform.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :