LUSAKA City Council has confirmed the plunder of community assets which include houses, recreational facilities and play parks after an earlier attempt to rubbish the Daily Nation expose of the secret sale of local authority property.
Councillors, it has been revealed, have been buying properties including play parks and recreational facilities through proxies at a pittance then subsequently resold them to “investors” at hugely inflated prices.
“The council should have received the US$4million that is being offered by a Chinese investor.” one official said.
He described the situation as “total plunder” in which the Ministry of Lands was actively involved by issuing offer letters to properties owned by the council.
“Once these properties are sold the communities will have no play parks; this should be stopped by the authorities. The council must be made to develop the parks to their pre-independence status.” he said.
And Lusaka City town clerk Alex Mwansa issued a statement last evening confirming that some of Lusaka City Council properties were disposed of by the local authority, including Libala tennis and basketball courts which was sold for K12 million.
In some cases, however, the sale of Lusaka City Council property was being done secretly as evidenced by a court case in which the local authority is challenging the sale of Ntoyo Play Park in Woodlands.
Sources at the council have revealed that some officials were conniving with officers at the Ministry of Lands to parcel out land in Lusaka for which offers were made directly to buyers without reference to the council.
This was the case with the Ntoyo Park which had been offered to a resident without reference to the council resulting in a court case in which the council; was contesting the award.
In some cases, some councillors obtained land which they sold on to “investors” at exorbitant prices.
Meanwhile the Libala Tennis and basketball Courts have also been sold off to a private investor leaving the regular patrons aghast as they were not aware of the sale..
A council officer said the parks were the property of the council which were intended for use by the community and not to be sold to private individuals to develop houses He revealed that the Libala tennis court, had been sold by city council resolution after being in the press in order to raise funds for the smooth operations of the council, but the money paid for it was not the same now being offered to a foreign investor.
Mr. Mwansa said the Libala tennis court was sold at K12million.
“On the Libala Tennis Court, the property was sold for K12 million to a deserving buyer. Normal procedure is followed before any property is disposed of, starting with the committee which involves councilors before the matter can go to the full Council for approval,” claimed Mr. Mwansa.
He also claimed that the entire process was above board and there was no coercion in the decision making process.
“As a public institution, we do follow procedure on matters involving sale of public property, like was the case with stand No. Lus/20435 Yotum Muleya road and all other properties belonging to the Council. The full Council that met on 13th April, 2015 approved the sale of Libala Tennis Court under Council minute No. C/81/04/15 and resolved to advertise the sale of commercial stand No. Lus/20435
Yotum Muleya road, Lusaka to a suitable bidder. This is for purposes of construction of sports facilities, multi-storey shopping mall with parking space and entertainment zones and an advert was placed in the Times of Zambia issue of 29th April, 2015,” said Mr. Mwansa.
He said a suitable buyer met the set conditions and paid the K25, 000 non-refundable fee and paid for the property within the stipulated one month period, adding that Councilors or Council officers were not directly involved in the disposal of public property.