DETAILS are emerging that Minister of Local Government and Housing John Phiri was grossly misled into believing that the sale of land including the Looters Basketball Court on Yotam Muleya road was above board.
The Minister has been challenged to investigate the procedures that were used to identify the assets to be sold and how the current developers were chosen, if it was not throuigh corrupt and underhand procedures.
Lusaka Libala Ward 7 Councillor Emmanuel Chanda says the exercise was fraught with secrecy and irregularity.
And Chawama residents in Lusaka have petitioned their Member of Parliament Lawrence Sichalwe and the Lusaka City Council Town Clerk Alex Mwansa, contesting the secret sale of Ngwenya Dam situated in Chawama Constituency to a foreign investor.
Mr Chanda said there were a lot of illegalities in the sale of land housing the Looters Basketball on Yotam Muleya Road.
The Lusaka City Council is currently fighting criticism for selling land and property secretly.
The local authority is also under criticism for its failure to consult communities in areas where it has sold council properties.
He accused the council of misleading the Minister about the goings-on surrounding the sale of the Libala property, which he said was not done according to procedure.
Mr Chanda wondered why Government valuators were sent to work on the property after it was already sold off, which was inconsistency with the trends in procedure.
On Tuesday, the Minister of Local Government and Housing Dr John Phiri told Parliament that Lusaka City Council (LCC) followed the due process in disposing of council property.
But Mr Chanda insisted that the Minister was misled as the council report submitted to his office was fabricated as it did not contain what transpired in the Council Chambers during the meeting when the matter was discussed.
“They (Council) are trying to employ all sorts of fire fighting tactics. And it seems people who did wrong things are now being protected.
I do not want to start a fight with the Minister, but my position still stands that we did not agree to sale the property because of numerous reasons with particular reference to privatisation which did not benefit the miners who worked in the them ZCCM.
“My argument in the chamber was that even mine investors that agreed to maintain sports facilities have since abandoned the sports facilities,” he said.
He explained that his argument was based on the agreements made with the various mining companies that took over operations of the mining conglomerate, who later u-turned and abandoned all social amenities.
Mr Chanda called for independent investigators to study the matter and get to the bottom of the sale of Looters basketball court.
And petitioning on behalf of citizens, Charles Kafumbo said turning the Ngwenya dam into a pleasure resort without the involvement of the community would not work to their best interest.
Mr Kafumbo said it would be prudent if the community was as well involved from the onset as the sale of the dam secretly would impact negatively on the residents who voted for the MP.
He said last year, some residents had delivered a project proposal on behalf of the community suggesting the registration of Ngwenya Company Trust Limited which would turn the dam into a viable economic activity to benefit the community and making the dam into a pleasure resort was including the buisness proposal.
“The proposal by the community was addressed to the then MP, b now President Lungu, for the benefit of the community,” he said.
Mr Kafumbo said the community strongly objected to the sale of the dam to foreign investors without the involvement of the residents and that such would not be accepted in Chawama constituency. He was reacting to Mr Sichalwe who was reported to have said the famous Ngwenya Dam in Chawama would be given to investors to develop it into a pleasure resort.
Mr sichalwe said the issue would be tabled soon during a full council meeting, considering that the dam had for a long time been used as dumping site for dead bodies to.
Recently, the Lusaka City Council (LCC) indicated that it had engaged an investor to develop the Ngwenya Dam into a pleasure resort.