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Another ‘Ndata’ in Salima

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Although former late president Bingu wa Mutharika is the only one famed to have displayed opulence by constructing a multi-million kwacha White House styled Ndata Palace, Malawi News can tell that former Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service the late Maximiano William Lunguzi also built a similar palace in Salima over 20 years ago.

Three years ago, the current President Peter Mutharika said that Ndata Palace has only five rooms contrary to reports that it had 85 rooms while on the other hand Lunguzi’s house built early in the early 1990’s has two mansions on site.

One of his sons looking after the estate, Jeffrey, says one mansion is used as a guest wing while the main house has 23 rooms including bedrooms, bathrooms, storerooms,dining rooms, living rooms and study rooms.

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“The guest wing has four rooms,” he said adding that the Palace is sitting on a stretch of 57.5 hectares.

The Lunguzi Palace was built on the foot of Mkanga Hill, which lies some three kilometres away from the M5 Road of Salima to Blantyre near Katumba Village, Traditional Authority Kambwiri.

Villagers say at first they used to think the building was for the former State President as it was being built by the Police officers.

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“We later realised that it was owned by Mr. Lunguzi who bought it from Rev. Father Tobias Banda,” said one of the villagers who declined to be named.

The young Lunguzi indeed confirmed that it was built by the Police building department back in the days saying its high artisan standard has made the structures to still be standing 20 years after its construction.

The road leading to the estate has not been cleared for years and going up to reach its spot is tedious. Lunguzi said they are now selling the estate with other structures within the land for K90 million down from its initial K95 million price in 2011.

A police officer in the building department told Malawi News that with the old Malawi Police Force it was possible for senior officers to do that.

“Now with the current system that cannot happen; what officers do now is just to ask us to help them on private arrangement. What it means is that we apply for a leave and attend to such a personal project and we are also at liberty to decline,” said the officer who opted for anonymity.

National Police Spokesperson, Rhoda Manjolo, demanded for a questionnaire when asked how this used to be possible but could not respond to it.

Traditional Authority Kambwiri said the land indeed belongs to the Lunguzi family and it has been like that ever since he bought the place from a Catholic priest.

“There is a mistake that the structure was built by the police officers. This might be the case because he used to come with his fellow police officers on the site,” said the Traditional Authority.

He said when the place was being put together there were a lot of controversies but now that is no longer the case. He did not elaborate.

Lunguzi died on July 2, 1996 barely a month after he had joined politics. He was killed in a car accident when his vehicle ran into a stationary tractor.

Three other people, including the then MCP president Gwanda Chakuamba, were injured in the same accident that happened near Mponela, about 60 kilometres north of the capital, Lilongwe.

Lunguzi had just joined the Malawi Congress Party a month before his death and was travelling from the Northern Region city of Mzuzu where he had addressed a rally.

Former President Bakili Muluzi had announced at a rally in Lilongwe on September 2 the same year that his government would probe the death of the former Inspector General of police.

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