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Malata beneficiaries in Karonga feel cheated

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Beneficiaries of the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (DAHSP) in Karonga District have ditched the programme because they feel cheated as they are forced to get 22 iron sheets instead of the approved 30.

Chairperson for Karonga District Council Patrick Kishombe told The Daily Times last week that 75 percent of the beneficiaries are shunning the loan because they would receive 22 iron sheets yet they are expected to repay the loan that covers 30 iron sheets.

“This district is rotten in many things. People from my ward and other wards are shunning the Malata subsidy loan because of irregularities. People are not getting the actual materials they applied for … We are getting pressure from people in the villages because what the council secretariat is giving them is contrary to what President [Peter] Mutharika told them during the launch.

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“Should we say that the President lied to Malawians that selected people would get 30 iron sheets and cement as a loan? We are saying that because the District Commissioner always avoids responding to this matter when asked and people we represent are suspicious,” said Kishombe.

Councillor Ernest Mwalughali of Lupembe and Harry Mwanyembe of Rukulu wards said some beneficiaries in their wards did not get what they applied for.

“We do not know who is trying to rob poor people here. Just imagine some people in my ward got only two planks of timber, others five bags of cement. No-one got 30 iron sheets as promised by government. It is better to stop the programme than steal from the poor people because their loans indicate that they will pay for 30 sheets,” challenged Mwalughali.

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Karonga District Commissioner Rosemary Moyo described the situation as normal arguing that Village Housing Committees assessed beneficiaries before approving them. Moyo who denied any fraud said government was giving 30 sheets as maximum hence people should not worry about the little they get.

But Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development Spokesperson Charles Vintula differed with Moyo saying the challenges in Karonga and other districts as well were a result of poor registration records. Vintula said the problems would be addressed after the last consignment of the materials before the October 30 distribution deadline.

“Such anomalies might be there in Karonga and also in some districts and the problem originates from registrations. In some districts they did not register beneficiaries properly. However, the ministry will soon sort out the problem because in some areas they have not yet received their last consignment of materials.

Recently the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament preferred suspending the programme following the current anomalies within it.

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