The National Anti-Corruption Alliance (NAP) has tipped Lands, Housing and Urban Development minister Kezzie Msukwa on how he can curb systematic corruption surrounding acquisition of land in the country.
NAP chairsperson Moses Mkandawire gave a tip to the minister in an interview Thursday, when he was asked to comment on the level of corruption existing in the Ministry of Lands, where the minister wants officials to begin operating with a new slate in the Tonse Alliance administration.
Msukwa, who is holding his first Cabinet portfolio in the new leadership of President Lazarus Chakwera, on Friday inspected some of the plots believed to have been encroached or acquired illegally in Lilongwe.
While applauding the initiative, the minister has taken to inspect all the plots suspected to have been encroached or obtained illegally, Mkandawire proposed that the ministry should go beyond this by introducing stringent measures such as conducting a social audit on land property for each person in the country.
In his comment, Mkandawire, who is leading a grouping of four civil society organisations, namely the Malawi Law Society (MLS), Youth And Society (YAS), Church and Society of Livingstonia Synod and Centre for Human Rignts and Rehabilitation (CHRR), hinted that the survey which NAP conducted some two months ago, revealed a serious mess that needs to be swept out of the ministry.
He said: “A short preliminary report that we carried out some months ago has shown that there is a big problem of corruption in the Ministry of Lands. There is rampant corruption and the ministry has not been honest enough when allocating land to people.
“What has been happening requires social auditing on the assets people have. Each and every Malawian should disclose how many plots he or she has and the ministry should be open to tell Malawians how many plots it has previously sold…”
In terms of the strategy that needs to be used in auditing plots, Mkandawire proposed the need for the minister to work with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the civil society in sealing loopholes that have led to some people acquiring land illegally in both cities and district councils.
Corruption is one of the evil vices the current regime has spoken against and wants to fight if government is to deliver results.
Chakwera has given ministers five months to deliver if they are to be retained.
Apart from inspecting plots in Area 43 and 44, Msukwa also appreciated the 6.2 kilometres road construction project worth K2.9 billion in Areas 13, 15 and 19 where the ministry sold plots for development.
For many years, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government was being accused of constructing substandard roads using hefty sums of taxpayers’ money.
The minister applauded the road contractor for offering what he described as a ‘quality road’ although the construction period was behind by a year.
Both Msukwa and his deputy Abida Mia are expected to visit a number of areas where it suspected that plots were acquired illegally or encroached.