The Department of Housing under the Ministry of Lands and Housing has been told to vacate a privately-owned Malawi Property Investment Company (Mpico) building in City Centre, Lilongwe, worsening the problem of office space for government ministries and departments.
The eviction of the department, which ironically is responsible for allocating office space to all government ministries and State organs, comes months after Mpico terminated its contract for four buildings—Aquarius, Chief Kilipula Building, Capital House and ICS complex—over unpaid rentals amounting to over K2 billion.
But the ministry’s spokesperson Charles Vintulla played down the development, saying Mpico and government have just come to a mutual end of their contract and said government has already allocated the department another office building.
Said Vintulla: “We were aware for sometime that our contract is coming to an end and we have been searching for another building. We will soon occupy the new office premises,” said Vintulla.
He did not name the allocated building, but dismissed assertions that the arrears that government owes Mpico influenced the eviction, insisting that the decision to vacate the offices was mutual.
After termination of a tenancy agreement for the four office complexes, Vintulla told Nation on Sunday in May this year that government and Mpico had signed a 10-year tenancy contract, which was expiring.
He was quoted as saying Mpico was not renewing that contract involving Mpico buildings in Mzuzu and some few in Lilongwe.
Mpico managing director Peter du Plessis could not be reached for comment yesterday while the company’s head of facilities Lusayo Mwabutwa’s phone went unanswered.
Last year, Mpico also threatened to evict from Gemini Building, also allocated in City Centre, other government departments such as Gender and Water Development.
Government was also in the news for owing rentals to landlords who house Irrigation Department headquarters and Labour while the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) was also threatened with eviction over K100 million of unpaid rentals.