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Lilongwe Water Board in land scam

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Reyneck Matemba

The Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has been implicated in a land scam, where one of its senior officers, Moses Mwenye, who is the Head of Corporate Services, is alleged to have inflated figures for two plots the board purchased valued at K16 million and K24 million to K20 million and K44 million respectively.

The board purchased land in Area 25 and Area 23 from Allen Shaba and Mustafa Hassani which was supposed to be used for construction of a tank structure to boost water supply in Area 25 while the Area 23 plot was purchased to construct the board’s zone offices.

A letter in our possession, written by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) addressed to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Reyneck Matemba, requests the bureau to investigate the matter.

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HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence confirmed the development, saying this is part of their whistle blowing initiative in curbing corruption and ensuring that those in the wrong are brought to book.

“It is alleged that the Water Board bought the piece of land in Area 25 (customary land) from a Mr. Allen Shaba. It is alleged that Mr. Shaba was selling the land at K16 million. It is alleged that a senior member of the Board’s management then approached Mr. Shaba and told him to raise the price to K24 million.

“It is further alleged that the senior member of management then pocketed the K8 million difference. Furthermore, it is alleged that the land that was sold to the Board was less than what had been advertised. It is also alleged that the Board bought plot number 21/ SQ/679 in Area 23 under title no. 23/189 from Mr Mustafa Hassani. It is alleged that Mr. Hassani was offering the land at K25 million. It is further alleged that the same senior member of management approached Mr. Hassani and told him to raise the price to K44 million. Again the allegations are that the difference was given to this senior member of management,” reads part of the letter.

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Mwenye could not immediately be reached for comment.

Through a questionnaire, LWB’s spokesperson Maurice Nkawihe confirmed that the Board purchased the two mentioned plots, but said the Board did not receive any corruption allegations on the matter.

“Yes the Board purchased the mentioned two plots of land for two projects: a, customer care office construction (Area 23) and for water tank construction (Area 25).

“As far as the Board is concerned, there are no allegations that were brought forth of any officer being involved in inflating the price figures. The Board followed procedures in acquiring the land ranging from identification, offers and valuation to ascertain the price offers. We have records of every transaction concerning the land,” he said..

A source from LWB, who opted for anonymity, confided in us that a senior member from the board had also sent a similar complaint to the bureau earlier in the week.

HRDC corroborated our source, saying they were told a similar complaint was sent to the bureau.

Matemba confirmed receipt of the letter and said the bureau will pursue the matter.

“I can confirm that we got it and just like the others, we will pursue it,” he said.

HRDC has been living up to its watchdog role by demanding action and raising in the public domain matters it has received from whistle blowers in various government parastatals.

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