‘Mystery and corruption still surrounding Baobab land’

Dear Editor,

You are our only hope. Please get to the bottom of the corruption and mystery at that prime land near Baobab land in Makeni.

My name is Lukwesa George.

The Anti-Corruption Corruption Commission (ACC) should come clean on what is happening on Baobab land. The ACC officers are swimming in money. There is something fishy going on at that land in Makeni.

In October last year, the ACC started investigating how the land was corruptly given to foreigners by the MMD.

That investigation was never made public. What is going on? Was the PF just using that investigation to intimidate the investors and get kickbacks? I personally think so. I think some big shots in the PF government is benefiting from the foreigners. I was one of the people who bought a piece of land there but it was later given to bigger fish after it was taken away from us. We are still waiting.

To give you a background to the case, here is a editorial written by the Times of Zambia in February this year. I will send you more details later.

Zambia: Baobab Land – a Repeat of Past Mistakes?

THE Egyptian developers who ‘bought’ the prime piece of land adjacent to Baobab College in Lusaka’s Makeni area are about to start their planned development project before the findings of an environmental impact assessment study are made public.

It is a requirement under the law that any project, particularly a huge commercial undertaking which is bound to impact on settlements within the proximity of the planned development, must be preceded by an environmental impact assessment to determine the suitability or otherwise of any project.

We raise these concerns because the area in question has been embroiled in repeated controversies over the years as the ownership keeps changing hands, and so are the plans.

There is always a veil of secrecy surrounding the planned developments, a syndrome which does not augur well about the goings-on.

The Lusaka City Council which is expected to take a keen interest in this matter appears to have lost the ‘battle’ after its powers of allocating land in the city were revoked by the Ministry of Lands some years back following controversy over the same piece of land.

The council had planned to allocate the land in question to some 1,090 private developers to build residential homes of their choice, in addition to a five-star hotel and other commercial infrastructure.

Surprisingly, Government, under the Mwanawasa administration, halted the whole project in a rather unceremonious manner and all potential developers who had applied for residential and commercial plots were refunded their money.

The council, under whose jurisdiction the land falls, was chastised for advertising the land and collecting money from interested developers.

They were ordered to refund the money and the ministry of Lands invoked its power under the law to revoke the council’s powers to allocate land.

It was assumed, at the material time, that the decision was premised on the imperative need to ensure orderly development in the city, and avoid a repetition of what occurred on the adjacent land, Farm 401a, where the council sanctioned residential development without providing the requisite services to the developers.

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