Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Joseph Mwandidya has said lack of proper documentation is fuelling encroachment on public institutions’ land.
The PS made the remarks on Monday when he appeared before a joint parliamentary committee of Legal Affairs, Education and Transport and Public Infrastructure, which is probing the encroachment of public institutions’ land, including the alleged Livimbo school land sale.
In his submission to the committee, Mwandidya said there is a problem in government where the institutions are just given maps and jurisdiction that they own a place.
“There is a very big problem. Most schools and government institutions don’t have papers, that is why encroachment is rampant. We need to strategise and make sure that we give all the institutions the papers that they need,” he said.
Mwandidya was responding to the committee on ownership of Livimbo school land which was encroached by two Malawians of Asian origin, who insist it is their land.
The ministry confessed that there was encroachment of Livimbo Secondary and Primary schools and other land issues that emerged after The Nation published about a rotten system at Ministry of Lands and busted some of the officers and businesspeople who instituted a parallel lands office a month ago.
The Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) instituted a probe into the alleged sale of the school a day after the report of the alleged sale.
The alleged sale of Livimbo school came to light last month during a meeting between Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament and a Ministry of Lands delegation when Lilongwe City South West legislator Nancy Tembo said the public school was sold.
While admitting that Livimbo school was encroached, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Symon Vuwa Kaunda, who has toured the institution three times, insisted government did not sell the school.
He, however, admitted the existence of a parallel lands office in the ministry.
Meanwhile, Irfan Mohamed Patel and Ahmed Yajub Laheri have threatened to sue government over part of Livimbo Primary School land they are accused of encroaching.
On Saturday, Lilongwe City Council (LCC) demolished warehouses Laheri erected on the disputed land, which borders Livimbo school, describing it as “illegal construction”.
In an earlier interview, Laheri insisted the school encroached on his land as such he will take legal action against government.
Meanwhile, his lawyer Ishmael Wadi said he was aware of notices from LLC to demolish the buildings and they had filed an appeal against such a decision.
“We are moving step by step. We are amending our notice of appeal to the planning board and after the hearing, that is when we will decide the way forward,” he said.