Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Symon Vuwa Kaunda has issued a stern warning against corruption in the allocation of plots, stating that graft is endemic in the civil service.
The minister said the “perception out there is that Lands Department is one of the most corrupt” entities in the country; hence, the need to save face as the department in Mzuzu intends to allocate plots to residents in the next three months.
He made the remarks in Mzuzu on Monday during a meeting with the ministry’s officers from the Northern Region as part of his familiarisation tour.
Said Kaunda: “There is a perception that if there is a ministry in government that is associated with corruption, then it is Ministry of Lands. So, I am warning you. The position of government is that we will not shield anybody involved in corruption. If you are involved in corruption, you will face the law regardless of your position.
“People have spoken so much about corruption in DPP [Democratic Progressive Party]. That corruption in DPP, some of it, it’s not us in the DPP who do it. It’s not us the politicians. In some cases, it’s the civil servants.
“If you look at Cashgate, if ministers were involved, names should have come out. But four years down the line, none of the ministers has been mentioned. It’s all about civil servants.”
Ironically, Kaunda was last year swindled out of K1.5 million by fraudsters who posed as Felix Mangani, the then controller of lands in the ministry. The fraudster claimed that he had been instructed by President Peter Mutharika to offer him (Kaunda) two plots in the low density Area 43 in Lilongwe.
In an interview, Kaunda said applicants should follow all necessary processes, formalities and procedures.
“Land matters are quite contentious and delicate. Each and every person wants a plot or land for development. And there is pressure for land. But what we are saying is that let’s do the very best with what we have. Transparency and accountability should be the order of theday,” he said.
Acting regional commissioner for lands (North) Anthony Nzima said the department has about 700 plots which will be allocated to applicants in the next three months.
“We have plots at Katoto, Area Six and Lunyangwa Extension for interested individuals to apply. We are in the process of creating roads in these areas. Later, we will do surveys and then be able to allocate them to applicants,” he said.