Malawi: Muhara Named in Land Allocation Scandal

11 August 2020

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has again written the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) with additional information on dubious land allocation and named the former Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Lloyd Muhara to have been the one responsible for authorising the award of 1.171 hectares of land to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regional governor (South) Charles Mchacha at a price of K30.5 million.

In a letter dated August 10 2020 signed by HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence said he was furnishing the graft-busting body with fresh information following up on their letter dated August 5 asking for a probe in how Mchacha acquired the land belonging to the Department of Forestry, Plot Number LW 1366 at Limbe West in Blantyre City in a dubious manner.

Trapence said the coalition, through their whistleblower initiative, has received information that the Kanjeza Forest plot was actually awarded by Muhara on June 14, 2-19.

"This followed a memorandum from the then Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Bright Kumwembe written on the same day," the letter by HRDC reads in part.

According to Trapence, at the time the plot was being given to Mchacha, there was no Cabinet and that such an approval was supposed to be done by the Minister of Lands and not by the Chief Secretary to the government.

"We wonder in what capacity the Chief Secretary was doing this,' said HRDC and appealed to ACB to commence the investigations.

According to a lease document, Mchacha was granted approval to lease the land for 99 years, beginning July 1 2019.

HRDC says it wants individuals that acquired public land through political connections to be probed, specifically those that did so under the ousted DPP regime.

The coalition also wants ACB to probe how a Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) land in Area 3 in Lilongwe was sold to two businesspeople, Mustaq Chothia and Suleiman Ismail Karim.

The organisation further alleges that the two were also dubiously awarded land near Kamuzu Central Hospital roundabout, Lilongwe's Area 15 and Area 3 as well as plots opposite Lilongwe Labour Offices.

HRDC says it wants the ACB to commence the investigations on the reported cases at the soonest time possible.

Since taking office, President Lazarus Chakwera, 65, has launched investigations into some of the deals agreed by the previous government, suspending contracts.

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