By Bennie Mundando

BUSINESS entities in Emmasdale have protested against the inclusion of Defence permeant secretary Stardy Mwale in the committee to scrutinize illegal land developments in Lusaka.  They say he is an interested party in the exercise.

Government has formed a team to look into the numerous allegations of illegal structures in Emmasdale and other parts of Lusaka after the Daily Nation unearthed a scam in which a gazetted road in the area had been demarcated into a plot.

Mehmud Suleman Mohamed, the businessman who has been given a plot No. S/LUSAK/1206740 which was created on the gazetted road, has put up structures which have blocked entrance to the Defence Medical College and limited access to the rest of near-by businesses.

According to impeccable sources, the team which comprises Lusaka Province Minister Japhen Mwakalombe, the Mayor and Town Clerk of Lusaka, the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Defence and officials from the Ministry of Lands, will start their investigations soon.

The source said that the team would be required to go on site and scrutinize all the documents for them to determine the circumstances under which the plots in question were offered and determine whether building permits were properly obtained or given.

However, this has angered affected businesses who have demanded for an immediate removal of Mr. Mwale from the committee, arguing that he was the person who had created the problem when he was Lusaka Province Permanent Secretary for giving express permission to the developer to go ahead even when he knew that the plot was illegal.

“What is Mr. Mwale doing on that committee? Is the Ministry of Lands or whoever has constituted that committee serious with what they are doing or they just want to do an exercise in futility? What different thing will Mr. Mwale do when he is at the centre of this whole thing?

“It is so disappointing that Governmnet seems to be content with all this. In the first place, do you need to know whether the plot was rightfully acquired or not when it is clear that it is sitting on a gazetted road?

“Mr. Mwale should never be allowed to sit on that committee or we will conclude that Government sees nothing wrong with the delayed opening for the school and the challenges we are going through,” Mr. Pandor said.

He said the business community saw no hope that the issue would be resolved amicably looking at the crop of individuals who were entrusted with such a responsibility.

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