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Police barter deal: 140 units already under construction

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Police houses are already under construction at Police Headquarters in Area 30 in Lilongwe by a private developer partly in exchange of PMF Police dilapidated compound in the city although three ministers declared yesterday that the deal is being reviewed.

According to documents Malawi News has seen, in May 2019, the DPP government entered into a contract with World Wide Construction to construct 140 units of three bedroomed dwelling houses, office blocks, a shooting range, a garage plus inspection pit, parade and football ground and multipurpose hall among others.

In return, the Ministry of Homeland Security agreed to relocate C Division of the Malawi Police Service (MPS), which is in Old Town (Area 2), to the designated area.

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“The Agreement is made this … day of May 2019 between government of the Republic of Malawi, acting through the Ministry of Homeland Security of Private Bag 331, Capital City, Lilongwe in the republic of Malawi and Worldwide Construction Company Limited of Post Office Box 250 Lilongwe,” reads part of the contract.

According to the document, the owner (government) has a public land on properties known as Plot no 2/017 and 2/683; all the land in total comprises of 40.174 hectares situated in Area 2 Lilongwe where the C division of MPS is accommodated.

“The owner desires to relocate the Division of the Malawi Police Service to other location more conducive for the accommodation and location of such an important division of the MPS including Area 30, Area 6, Area 47 and Area 2 in the city of Lilongwe,” reads part of the contract.

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The agreement further stipulates that “The contractor wishes to enter in a relationship with the owner of the development of the areas identified for relocation of the C division of the MPS in the city of Lilongwe. The contractor shall leave the land in total amounting to 0.2 hectors for the construction of the Police Post on the premises”.

But while on a visit yesterday the ministers said government will review the deal.

Minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa and Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda visited the site yesterday.

Msukwa said according to documents in their possession, the Ministry of Homeland Security wanted to give the private developer the estate in exchange of him building the said police houses.

“Honestly speaking, barter system (of trade) used to happen many ages ago. During the barter system there was always a loser. You can’t barter three chickens for a goat; one of them has lost,” Msukwa said.

On his part, Chimwendo Banda claimed the land is so vast that it can even accommodate more than the agreed 140 houses.

According to Chimwendo, the houses World Wide Construction is building in Area 30 is a separate contract of K10 billion which the contractor won long time ago and not part of the C Company contract which has not been completed.

The two ministers also visited the project site of the 140 houses at Area 30 last Saturday

This is not the first time that issues of government bartering some of its property is arising, as during the Peoples Party regime, Capital Hill also bartered the presidential jet for arms for the Malawi Defence Force (MDF).

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