Land whistleblower suspended

THE Lusaka City Council has suspended Libala Ward 7 councillor Emmanuel Chanda over his stance to lift the lid the illegal and secret sale of the Libala tennis court to a Chinese investor for the construction of a shopping mall.
According to the suspension letter dated 19th August, 2015 signed by Lusaka City Council town clerk Abraham Mwansa, Mr. Chanda has been suspended for six months with immediate effect.
“I make reference to the above captioned matter and regret to inform you that council had occasion to review your exculpatory statement which unfortunately did not address the allegations levelled against you. Consequently and in accordance with regulation 5(1) of the Local Government (Councilors code of conduct and mode of dressing at meetings) regulations, council under minute number C/119/08/15 resolve to suspend you from the membership of the Lusaka City Council for a period of six months with immediate effect” the letter which has been copied to the Local Government permanent secretary and the mayor stated in part.
And when contacted for a comment Mr. Chanda confirmed his suspension, saying the council made the decision last week during a caucus meeting ahead of the announcement in a full council meeting.
Mr. Chanda could not comment further saying he was a law-abiding citizen and would wait to hear from the council when he would go back.
In June, details emerged 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 was 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 through corrupt and underhand procedures.
Mr Chanda at that time said the exercise was fraught with secrecy and irregularity.
Mr Chanda said there were a lot of illegalities in the sale of the 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.
Mr Chanda 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.
He questioned why Government valuators were sent to work on the property after it was already sold off, which was inconsistent in procedure.
On June 26 this year, Dr. 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 firefighting 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 sell the property because of numerous reasons with particular reference to privatization 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.