Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Kezzie Msukwa and his deputy Abida Mia yesterday raided a house and offices of a trader in Blantyre in a surprise call to appreciate how he acquired a public plot.
The plot, situated in the city’s Mudi residential estate, is said to be a property of Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) but some officials from the ministry allegedly allocated it to the Malawian of Asian origin, only identified as Mr Patel of KU Distributors, after he expressed interest to acquire it.
Msukwa was accompanied by senior officials from the ministry, the media and MHC including its chief executive officer Eunice Napolo. The minister sidetracked from his scheduled familiriasation tour of MHC projects to attend to the unplanned task.
From Mudi, Msukwa and his entourage proceeded to Maone Industrial Area to interrogate Patel at his office on how he obtained the piece of land to construct his modern two-story house.
But on his part, Patel produced documents of the procurement transactions which included government receipts showing the payments he made to the ministry to develop the land as well as compensation for the MHC structures that were pulled down.
He said: “I duly applied for the plot and paid everything. I did not know that the plot belonged to Malawi Housing Corporation because throughout the transactions, nobody brought that to my attention.”
In her remarks, Napolo said the parastatal was never involved in the acquisition of the plot by Patel and were alarmed upon realising that he had demolished their buildings and started construction works.
“When he told us that he acquired the land from the ministry, we could not do anything because everything was done by officers from our parent ministry,” she said.
The unmoved minister claimed procedures in the entire transaction were ignored and his ministry would thoroughly probe to establish what transpired.
He said: “This is a very serious matter and my ministry will take it up and ensure that proper remedies are put in place. We need to respect the rule of law.
“My ministry will ensure there is no illegal land acquisition and possession in the country and all land issues are properly administered because it has now become a culture that in any transaction relating to land or a plot, there has to be corruption.”
Msukwa also commended MHC for making significant strides in developing more housing units to meet the ever-growing demand for housing in the country.