Joint House committee presses Lands ministry officials

The joint Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs and Public Transport says it is not satisfied with information officials from the Ministry of Lands provided on Thursday on how it changed ownership of the controversial land from being a government property to a private entity.

The committee, chaired by Chitipa East Constituency legislator Kezzie Msukwa, is investigating the encroachment of Livimbo Community Day Secondary and Primary School land, and illegal sale of land in some parts of Lilongwe.

Msukwa said the officials who spoke on the matter seemed not to be conversant with the issue.

“You have noted that we have been unable to get convincing answers from the ministry. The PS said the ones who were giving answers are not conversant with issues.

“So far we can see that we seem to have lost connectivity on the transfers of plot from public to private lease. The committee is trying find out if there are documents on that,” said Msukwa.

Sharing same land: Livimbo School and Laheri’s warehouse

In one of the letters to the Ministry of Education, deputy commissioner of Lands responsible for the Centre, Muhamad Seleman indicates that Livimbo school encroached into the plot belonging to Yajub Laheri, a development that forced officials to shift beacons. But when they were asked on what they based their decision to write the ministry, the officials, who included Principal Secretary Joseph Mwandidya, could not come out clearly on whether they conducted any survey to warrant shifting of beacons.

Although they maintained their earlier position that part of Livimbo land was sold, they confirmed they did not use the old map to shift inwards some beacons.

Mwandidya reiterated, in an interview after the meeting, that the ministry has all documents, indicating that the process of changing ownership of land, which previously belonged to government, was properly done following all procedures.

He, however, proposed that the committee should carry its own assessment using private surveyors to find out the truth on the matter.

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