As land ownership conflicts in Malawi continue to rise, the call by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) for the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to probe individuals that acquired public land through political connections, specifically those that did so under the ousted Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime, on Saturday two dominated headline weekend newspapers.
‘Land scam,’ was the headline in Malawi News on the letter which HRDC has written ACB. With subheadline ‘Vuwa Kaunda, Charles Mchacha, Malawians of Asian origin implicated.’
The Weekend Nation also reports on the same angle with a headline: ‘HRDC wants urgent land allocation probe’.
The press quoting a letter dated August 5 2020 signed by HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence and national coordinator Luke Tembo, the group, among others, wants ACB to probe how former minister of Lands Symon Vuwa Kaunda granted 1.171 hectares of land to former minister of irrigation Charles Mchacha at a price of K30.5 million.
The HRDC, through their whistleblower initiative, says it wants individuals that acquired public land through political connections to be probed, specifically those that did so under the ousted Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime.
Mchacha acquired the land belonging to the Department of Forestry, Plot Number LW 1366 at Limbe West in Blantyre City in a dubious manner.
According to a lease document, Mchacha was granted approval to lease the land for 99 years, beginning July 1 2019.
However, Mchacha and Kaunda defended the sale, arguing that the piece of land was not the only one that was sold to individuals in the area.
HRDC also wants ACB to probe how a Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) land in Area 3 in Lilongwe was sold to two businesspeople, Mustaq Chothia and Suleiman Ismail Karim.
The letter further alleges that the two were also dubiously awarded land near Kamuzu Central Hospital roundabout, Lilongwe’s Area 15 and Area 3 as well as plots opposite Lilongwe Labour Offices.
Reads the letter in part: “HRDC has also information that there have been many suspected cases by some Ministry of Land officials awarding land without following proper procedures.
“HRDC is, therefore, calling for land plots awarding audit where such an audit should also include land allocated to Mr. Zahid Sattar of Pioneer Properties.”
HRDC further wants a probe on Ministry of Land officials who have sold government land without proper procedures at Choma Hatchery in Mzuzu, Mpemba Staff Development Institute (SDI) land in Blantyre and part of Maula Prison land in Lilongwe’s Area 6.
In addition, some of the government land that has been sold without proper procedures include Ministry of Agriculture’s department of Health land along Chileka Road in Blantyre, Bwemba Hatchery in Lilongwe and Department of Veterinary land in Mpemba, Blantyre.
HRDC says it wants the ACB to commence the investigations on the reported cases at the soonest time possible.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :