Probing of illegal land allocation at LCC to be done within 60 days

Government has appointed a team of auditors to be part of investigations into the Lusaka City Council’s alleged illegal allocation of land.

Minister of Local Government and Housing Brian Chituwo said the audit is expected to commence this week and will be done within 60 days.

Dr Chituwo said in an interview in Lusaka on February 1 that Government is committed to ensuring that public resources and offices are not abused.

“My ministry came up with an auditor on Monday [January 31] evening aimed at clearing all public concerns regarding the illegal allocation of plots by councillors at LCC,” he said.

Dr Chituwo said the move is intended to ensure that all concerns into the illegal allocation of plots by the Patriotic Front councillors are addressed.

He said Government has the mandate to provide for the people and that any mismanagement of public resources will not be tolerated.

Dr Chituwo said the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has decided to start the audit with LCC because of the overwhelming reports of abuse of office and public resources.

And the minister said he has also received reports on the abuse of Constituency Development Funds (CDF) in some constituencies.

He made specific reference to Kasama Central, Siavonga and Lukulu constituencies. Dr Chituwo said some councils have been delaying the use of the CDF.

He said such councils are also expected to be visited by auditors.

Recently Dr Chituwo suspended the LCC to pave way for investigations into the alleged illegal allocation of plots at the Lilayi housing project.

Meanwhile, ALEX NJOVU reports that the Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union (ZULAWU) has warned that it will not protect council workers allegedly involved in illegal land transactions.

ZULAWU general secretary Noel Kalangu said in an interview in Lusaka on February 1 that some council workers on the Copperbelt were last year dismissed for alleged involvement in illegal activities.

“Our members are not directly involved in illegal land allocation, they are just used by councillors but we want to advise them that ZULAWU will not protect any wrongdoer. When the law visits them, they have to answer because no one is above the law,” Mr Kalangu said.

He described as worrying revelations that some councillors on the Copperbelt have allegedly sold pieces of land reserved for the construction of schools and clinics in the province.

Mr Kalangu urged councillors to desist from engaging in illegal activities that can tarnish the image of local authorities.

He said officers mandated to distribute land should exercise responsibility because land is an important asset.

Mr Kalangu also urged members of the public to desist from acquiring land directly from councillors.

“People must know that individual councillors don’t have the right to issue land. This is the function of councils on behalf of the Zambian government,” he said.

There is procedure to be followed when acquiring land from the council and we expect our members to follow the same procedure to avoid getting into conflict with the law,” Mr Kalangu said.

He said it is unfortunate that some councillors at Ndola and Kitwe City councils and Chingola Municipal Council are allegedly involved in illegal activities.

Mr Kalangu urged councillors to concentrate on developing their wards instead of engaging in illegal land transactions.

Copperbelt provincial local government officer Solomon Sakala said yesterday that most Patriotic Front (PF)-dominated councils on the Copperbelt are involved in illegal land transactions.

Mr Sakala said some councillors and officers in PF-dominated councils have allegedly sold several pieces of land which had been reserved for the construction of schools and clinics in the province.

He named the local authorities involved in illegal land transactions.

Mr Sakala said about 15 officers have been dismissed over the last one year for alleged involvement in illegal activities.

He said six councillors at NCC were suspended between 2006 and 2010.
Daily Mail

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