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Lloyd Muhara named in land query

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Gift Trapence

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has written the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to probe former Chief Secretary to the Government, Lloyd Muhara, for allegedly authorising the award of Plot LW 1366 at Kanjedza Forest in Blantyre to former Deputy Homeland Security Minister Charles Mchacha.

This comes three days after HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence wrote ACB Director-General, Reyneck Matemba, demanding a probe on businesspersons and politicians who allegedly benefitted from the suspicious politically-connected land deals.

Trapence has again written the graft-busting body about more information his institution is reportedly getting regarding the matter.

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“Further to our letter dated August 5, 2020, we have received information that Plot LW 1366 at Limbe West, Kanjedza Forest in Blantyre awarded to former Deputy Homeland Security Minister Charles Mchacha was actually awarded by the then Chief Secretary to Government Lloyd Muhara on June 14, 2019.

“This followed a memorandum from the then Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Bright Kumwembe written on the same day,” the letter by HRDC reads.

According to Trapence, his organisation has information that the time the plot was being given to Mchacha, there was no Cabinet.

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According to the letter by HRDC dated August 10, 2020, such an approval was supposed to be done by the Minister of Lands and not by the Chief Secretary to the Government.

“We wonder in what capacity the Chief Secretary was doing this and appeal to ACB to commence the investigations as soon as possible and that the anti-corruption body will update the nation when the investigations have started,” reads the letter.

In an earlier interview, former Minister of Lands Simon Vuwa Kaunda insisted that he never authorised the sale of land to Mchacha, who is Democratic Progressive Party Regional Governor for the South.

Kaunda said at the time the land was being sold he was not a minister and that therefore he could not have authorised the sale.

“I was not Minister of Lands by the time the land was sold. I have never authorised the sale of any public land. Ask OPC [Office of President and Cabinet]; they may have a memo in which the office authorised the sale,” Kaunda said.

By the time we went to press, Muhara could not be reached on his mobile phone for his comment.

According to Kumwembe’s memo dated June 14, 2019, which The Daily Times has seen, Mchacha was to use the public land for commercial purposes at the value of K200 million.

Our investigations show that on the land at Kanjedza where Mchacha was given a plot, the Blantyre City Council has so far allocated 600 plots to other developers.

HRDC further wants ACB to probe former ruling DPP officials for alleged abuse of office, especially in the acquisition of land by some politically-connected individuals.

The letter to the ACB alleges that businesspersons who are Malawians of Asian origin, Mustag Chothia, Sulema Ismael Karim and Zahid Sattar of Pioneer Property, were suspiciously allocated land near Kamuzu Central Hospital roundabout, as well as in Area 3 and Area 15 in Lilongwe.

HRDC is asking ACB to investigate a housing estate belonging to Malawi Housing Corporation in Area 3, near Lilongwe Golf Club, which is suspected to have been transferred to Chothia and Karim, who are also suspected to have been allocated land opposite Lilongwe Labour Offices in the capital city without following proper procedures.

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