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Member of Parliament, company tussle over land

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SULEMAN—I am not mad

Pacific Group has demanded an apology from Member of Parliament (MP) for Blantyre City South East Sameer Suleman over remarks the MP allegedly made that the company is monopolising land ownership in Limbe.

In a statement, the company says all the property acquired by the Pacific Group is and will continue to be in accordance with the Land Act, Registered Land Act and all applicable laws of Malawi.

“Our business has and continues to be run in a lawful and ethical manner. We are proud to state that we provide employment directly to over a thousand Malawians, and through our various infrastructure developments we have created indirect employment for multiple thousands,” reads the statement.

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The statement says on Thursday October 8, 2020, Suleman alleged that 80 percent of the whole of Limbe is currently owned by two individuals with one owning over 50 hectares of land where he is doing fish farming and that he is the untouchable as he repairs boreholes and that he is on the verge of being given 48 hectares of land by Blantyre City Council and the Ministry of Lands.

“Although he refrained from directly naming the concerned party, we are left in no doubt that Hon. Suleiman was referring to Pacific Group given that it is the only entity that operates a fish farm in Limbe, known as Chambo Fisheries…

“We request that unless he is able to substantiate his allegations, Hon. Suleiman withdraw them on the same platform,” reads the statement in part.

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The company further claims that Suleman’s statements have caused substantial harm to Pacific Group as they are allegedly faced with threats of demonstrations and vandalism to their properties.

But Suleman said he will not withdraw what he said in Parliament saying he was speaking based on a petition his constituents wrote on the matter.

He said it is unfortunate that Pacific has misinterpreted what he said as a personal battle with him.

“I am not mad. I have all the evidence of what I said and if my leader in Parliament who is the Speaker asks me to bring evidence I will,” Suleman said.

Land expert Geoffrey Wawanya says the system does allow a foreigner to acquire land but there is no limit as to how much a person can buy.

“The registered Land Act says that if a foreigner is buying it must be advertised and priority should go to a Malawian who matches the offered price. So to beat the system, prices are raised so high that no Malawian can buy. So it is the system that needs to be fixed,” he said.

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