Expose the thieves

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:29:41 +0000


THE meeting today between the eight applicants whose plots in Lusaka’s Roma township have been stolen and the Ministry of Lands should be a clincher where nothing but the truth should come out.

Our investigations so far show that the eight people followed the right procedure by applying for the plots through Lusaka City Council who did all the preliminaries to ensure that the Ministry of Lands would not have a problem dealing with the matter.

According to evidence on record, a letter signed by the then commissioner of lands Barnaby Mulenga in 2012 allocated the plots to the eight individuals but title deeds were later issued at supersonic speed in 2015 after he left the ministry to different individuals who did not even apply for the plots.

This was only possible because of the corruption of certain officers in the Ministry of Lands who profited from the deal by dispossessing the eight and selling the plots to the highest bidders even when they knew that the council had already numbered the plots and informed the original applicants.

A syndicate in the ministry tried to authenticate the corruption by back-dating the title deeds. The police who investigated the matter discovered the plots belonged to the eight people who had proof of the necessary papers while the new owners who brazenly reported the matter to the police had none.

They could not even give the names of the people they allegedly bought the plots from. This was because the whole transaction was wrapped up in fraud, embezzlement and contrary to land alienation rules and regulations.

The saddest part was that the scam was being perpetrated by a cabal of thieving civil servants who knew that what they were doing was wrong but had no conscience to stop it. They are so used to stealing from innocent Zambians that to them what mattered was not what was right or wrong but how much they would benefit from the deal.

The impunity with which some Government officials are abusing their offices is frightening. This is one of the issues today’s meeting at the Ministry of Lands headquarters is supposed to address. What is this indiscipline in the civil service stemming from and what is Cabinet Office and the Management Division doing about it?

This issue has confirmed that illegality is rife in the Ministry of Lands and that some officers have taken the law into their own hands to persecute innocent citizens and rob them of their entitlement in land acquisition. They manipulate the system by changing dates, plot numbers and signatures to confuse their victims.

These are the moles and blood suckers we want to be rooted out of the system. As long as they masquerade as officers doing their job, when they are nothing but a bunch of thieves, the civil service will continue to be used as a tool of oppression against the people of Zambia.

There is no way senior Government officials in the Ministry of Lands can pretend not to know what was going on. They know. Some even participated in the attempt to steal the plots and sell them to those dangling the money before their eyes. This is evil.

We hope and pray that by the end of today the ministry will own up and admit they made a mistake and do the right thing. They must restore the plots to the right applicants and deal with the culprits who have embarrassed the Government so much.

The land grabbers and wheeler dealers in the Ministry of Lands must know that it does not pay to be corrupt. They must be exposed and flushed out of Government service.


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