A parliamentary committee has given the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development up to three weeks to get back land along Lilongwe river which it sold to some members of staff and business people.
Welani Chilenga, chairperson of Lands and Natural Resources Committee of Parliament said it was absurd that the ministry officials sold the land which is the catchment area for Lilongwe Water Board.
"The people have built houses, they have a grave yard, they have a big tank, they have Chinsapo II market, yet this is a catchment area for the Lilongwe Water Board, this is unacceptable," he said.
Chilenga said the developers have built their structures just five metres away from the river itself.
"This is not only hazardous to the people but to the river as well because this causes high siltation," he said.
Chilenga said the committee was puzzled that some ministry officials willingly sold the land to some junior staff and business people when they knew this was illegal.
Spokesperson for the ministry, Charles Vintulla, while not commenting on the three week ultimatum, conceded this was a grave mistake some ministry officials made.
"The ministry is also concerned. The ministry does not allocate land in fragile areas," he said. It is not known if the Lands ministry officials who sold the land along the Lilongwe river banks will face disciplinary action.