Temperatures and emotions rose yesterday morning at Parliament Buildings in Lilongwe as chairperson for the Lilongwe City Council (LCC) Town and Country Planning Committee Kantondori Nyirenda failed to convince the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change members on a deal which the committee has since deemed dubious.
The Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee summoned LCC planning committee members to, among other things, explain why they gave Capital Daily Industries Limited a license to construct a milk processing factory at a place that is not designated for such activity.
The place in question is between Central Medical Stores and Sana Food Court at plot number 2/653 in Area 2, Lilongwe where original documents show that the place is designated for a warehouse and not a factory as is the case now.
During the interrogation, the parliamentary committee chairperson Werani Chilenga questioned Nyirenda on how the decision to construct a factory at an unsuitable place was made and how they manipulated documents to change from commercial land to mix use and gave the investor a go-ahead to construct all in a short period.
Said Chilenga: “The owners of Capital Daily factory were ill advised. They were trying to follow the right procedures, but the city council officials have not given them right advice.”
Allan Chiyembekeza, a member of the committee, asked: “Is it in order for the Ministry of Lands just to change allocation of a place from commercial to light use? Can we be enlightened on this?”
In his response, Nyirenda said the land in question was changed from commercial to light industry.
“It is true as a committee [we need] to follow the right procedure and by granting them the land we thought we did because the land was changed to light use,” he said.
Officials from the Ministry of Lands told the meeting that the land was indeed a commercial land which was in contrast with what Nyirenda said.