Peter Mutharika, Jane Ansah, also illicitly bought institutional houses, and for a song.
“The houses were illegally sold, and they were sold at an undervalued price.”
Two former senior cabinet ministers in the Arthur Peter Mutharika led Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, Kondwani Nakhumwa and Nicholas Dausi using political powers bulldozed themselves into buying houses belonging to Tobacco Commission (TC) contrary to the existing government embargo against the sale of institutional houses.
Nyasa Times investigations indicate that Nakhumwa, who was at that time minister of Local Government and now Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) and the then loudmouthed Homeland Security minister and one time government spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi knowingly that there was a ban against the selling of institutional houses in place, still went ahead and bought the houses at undervalued prices.
The ban on selling institutional houses was put in place by the government on September 12, 2003, following a meeting of controlling officers where it was approved that no institutional house would be for sale.
In a letter dated September 30, 2003, with reference number MH/HOS/0305/85 which Nyasa Times has in possession, addressed to all Controlling Officers and signed by Hanna Ndilowe, who was at that time the Secretary for Housing, officially confirmed the sanction.
“I wish to inform you that, following a meeting of some Controlling Officers, held on 12th September 2003, it was unanimously agreed that all categories of institutional houses are not for sale,” reads in part the letter from the Secretary for Housing, Hanna Ndilowe.
Further reads the letter: “In the meantime the ministry of Housing is seeking Cabinet decision on the same matter, when a decision is made, a circular will be issued.”
Nyasa Times has established that the Cabinet widely approved the ban on sale of all institutional houses in the country.
However, politicians seem to never abide by that decision as they kept buying institutional houses with the immediate former Republican President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and Supreme Court Judge and former Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Justice Dr. Jane Mayemu Ansah SC also caught in the illicit cobweb of buying ‘the banned for sale’ institutional houses.
Both Mutharika and Ansah are said to have bought the Malawi Housing institutional properties at an unreasonably cheap and giveaway prices.
In an inquiry, conducted by the immediate former Ombudsman, Martha Chizuma it was established that two institutional houses belonging to Tobacco Commission were illegally sold to Nakhumwa and Dausi although the sale was approved by the board.
In her determination, Chizuma ruled that the Board and its Chairperson never considered other avenues of raising money other than approving the sale of institutional houses for a reason that the Commission was paying more rent for the offices they were occupying in Kasungu.
To minimise costs, the Board approved the request, the Board realised that the Commission had debts which it was struggling to service as such they thought it wise to find other means of getting money and have the office built in Kasungu without falling into debt.
“Thus, they approved the sale of the houses and use the proceeds to construct an office. I find that reasoning as illogical,” said Chizuma in her findings.
Chizuma’s report further reads: “When I inquired from the Board as to why they approved the sale of the houses when it is alleged that there was a ban against the same, the Board Chairperson stated that he did not know that there was such a ban and the time they were deliberating on this issue, ex-officio members were present and the Board was relying on them for guidance on some issues.”
Chizuma said in a meeting, the ex-officio members present were Mr. Mtupanyama representing the Secretary to Agriculture, Dr. Mafuta Mwale representing Treasury and Zangazanga Chikhosi representing the Cabinet and the Presidency,” reads the report in part.
Furthermore, according to the internal auditor memo, the sale of both houses there was not registered to indicate that the bidders or their representatives were present as the advert stipulated and there was no ad-hoc committee to evaluate the bids that were submitted and come up with a report for the Internal Procurement and Asset Disposal Committee’s (IPDC) review.
Nyasa Times in its investigations established that that the IPDC conducted its own evaluation and approved its own work.
“I am undertaking a systemic investigation into the sale of institutional Government houses after I received a similar complaint in the matter of Concerned Employees of National Library vs. National Library Services, Public Inquiry No. 31 of 2020.
“The Commission has already looked at the disposal process of the houses. The report has concluded that the sales were illegal. I will leave it the Commission to conclude the process and take necessary steps to conclude the matter,” ruled Chizuma.
Tobacco Commission has since vowed to fight to the very core with everything in their power to get the houses, which were sold for a song, back to the organisation’s property fold.
In a telephone interview Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Chidanti Malunga said he learnt of the with concern process which happened in selling the houses.
Malunga said: “The houses were illegally sold, and they were sold at an undervalued price. There was neither due diligence nor was there any following of the laws of the land in selling the houses as stipulated in the laws of Malawi.”
However, Malunga said the Ombudsman’s report is an eye opener but emphasised that all the recommendation in the report must be adhered to and acted upon.
“As Tobacco Commission, we will get back all our houses that were sold illegally, and a way forward we have gathered all the documentary evidence to prove our case beyond reasonable doubt in the court of law that the houses.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :