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Livimbo ‘owners’ rebuffed again

The joint Parliamentary Committee on Legal, Education and Transport yesterday sent back owners of the warehouse which was built on land belonging to Livimbo School.

The committee insisted that the claimants should bring the original owner of the land, Nur Mahomed.

This is the second time the claimants have been sent back as they were also sent back on Monday.

Lawyer of the current owners, Ishmael Wadi, said they did not bring to the committee, Mahomed as promised on Monday because Mahomed is receiving medical treatment in the UK.

Instead, the owners of the warehouse brought to the committee a nephew of Mahomed.

During yesterday’s meeting, the joint committee was supposed to meet officials from the Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Education, the land owners and the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

Soon after finishing introductions, Chairperson of the Committee, Kezzie Msukwa, asked Wadi why they had not brought Mahomed to the committee.

Msukwa told the owners that the inquiry had requested the presence of Mahomed not the current owners before directing them to leave.

“The letter was clearly directed to Mr Mahomed and this meeting wants Mr Mahomed not you,” Msukwa said.

Dowa East Member of Parliament, Richard Chimwendo Banda, asked Wadi as to whether he had brought documents indicating that he was representing Mahomed in the inquiry.

But Wadi said his appointment to represent Mahomed was done at a short notice, therefore unable to bring documents to the committee.

Speaking to reporters outside the meeting room, Wadi said the new owners felt they had a right to make their story heard by the committee.

After the owners left, the meeting continued with the committee grilling officials from the Ministry of Land on the plot.

On Monday, Wadi insisted that the land was not acquired from the government or from Livimbo, adding that it has distinctively existed as a separate plot way back from 1956 and continues to do so with the same size up to the present day.

“The history of that land is that there used to be a company which had government shares by then, I Conforzi Tea and Tobacco Limited. They are still present today, I think in Thyolo where they do tea farming, but back then they were also doing tobacco farming. In 1955, they identified pieces of land in what is now called Area 2 and this was 25 acres of land and three plots were created adjacent to one another and one plot was reserved for what was known as Asian school.

“The middle plot which is which is plot number 2/239which is 0.9 of a hectare was also identified and created and again another big plot which you would see is bare land was also created there. In 1956, lease was processed and in 1957, lease was registered,” he said.

He added that in 1971, Malawi passed the Adjudication Act under which if anyone had a claim of interest of land one was supposed to apply.

Wadi said I Conforzi applied for recognition of that land which was granted in 1974.

“They continued to hold that land until they had sold it to Mr Nur Mahomed and Mr Nur Mahomed in 2017 is the one who sold the land to Mr Lehri and Mr Patel. It was never acquired from government or Livimbo School,” Wadi said.

The Lilongwe City Assembly on Saturday demolished warehouses belonging to the two businessmen.

Parliament is investigating the selling the controversial selling of land belonging to Livimbo School in Lilongwe.

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