Masebo drops bombshell

LOCAL Government Minister John Phiri’s attempts to defend Lusaka City Council’s secret sale of some of its property has boomeranged with Chongwe member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo laying on the table of Parliament the local authority’s report detailing the disposal of land near State House.

“Two weeks ago, a question was raised and put to the Minister of Local Government as to whether he was aware that LCC had disposed of assets relating to the property next to State House but in his response he said that none had been disposed of,” Ms Masebo said in her point of order.

Ms Masebo further said she had extracts from council reports showing that the said property had been surveyed, numbered and subdivided.

She expressed disappointment that the property which was strategically positioned (near State House) could be sold to private developers without security considerations.

“I want to know if the Minister was in order to mislead the house last week when he told Parliament that LCC has not disposed of any other asset apart from the famous Looters in Libala,” Ms Masebo said.

In his ruling, Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini ordered Dr Phiri to issue a ministerial statement this week regarding the piece of land near State House.

Last week, Dr Phiri denied that LCC had sold any other property than Looters land in Libala after being asked by Mafinga MMD Member of Parliament Catherine Namugala.

According to a report compiled by the LCC, Dr Phiri said the local authority was above board in its handling of its property.

And Government has said 131 farmers who did not receive fertilizer inputs despite paying for them in the 2014/2015 farming season will not be refunded.

Agricultural Minister Given Lubinda said the farmers would instead be given the same quantity of fertiliser they paid for last season regardless of the price of the inputs this year.

He was answering a question from UPND Nangoma Member of Parliament Boyd Hamusonde who wanted to know whether small scale farmers in his constituency who deposited money for inputs but did not receive them would be refunded.

“I wish to apologise on behalf of Government to all the affected farmers for the irreparable damage. I want to assure you that all those who had deposited but did not get the inputs will be given the exact number of bags they had earlier applied for even if the price should be higher this year,” Mr Lubinda said.

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