By John Saukira
Malawi government has recovered 500 plots from land baron Mohamad Diab.
Lilongwe-based businessman Diab voluntarily surrendered to government some of his vast land which he was not developing for many years.
Diab surrendered the land in Lilongwe following lengthy meeting at the lands ministry headquarters.
In the past similar efforts were made but to effect that the issue went to court were Diab battled out with Lilongwe Water Board.
Government now intends to reallocate the land to Malawians.
Communication specialist for land reforms in the ministry Charles Vintula and Minister of Lands Vuwa Kaunda confirmed about the development, saying Diab has surrendered 275 Hectares, which is 500 plots to be allocated.
The joint exercise was undertaken alongside Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ben Phiri.
The exercise was taken following eminent threats from HRDC, Parliament and other MaBlem of Fryson Chodzi and Robert Mkwezalamba.
Muhamad Diab, trading as Diab Dairy Farming, Box 781, Lilongwe acquired a large chunk of land of 550 hectares from Lilongwe District Council in 2005.
The title of the plot is Malangalanga 45/64517 and has a deed plan under Lilongwe District Council number 367/75.
According to Vintula, the plot was located in the catchment area of Lilongwe Water Board and was hence accorded a buffer zone on both sides of the river of 100 metres.
He said “The sale of this land to Mr. Diab was duly approved by the full council and its Development Committee at the price of K25 000 000. Mr. Diab created 1,000 plots of varying sizes on his acquired land and he had 524 of the plots already surveyed, adjudicated and demarcated by qualified land surveyors.”
Vintula said the remaining plots were yet to be formally surveyed.
Physical planners did a clear layout sketch for the land to properly demarcate the plots.
The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development entered into discussions with Diab on how to consider the land for development and proper planning.
Upon acquisition, the land use was meant for light agriculture.
During the discussions, held on 10th December, 2019 in Lilongwe, Diab has agreed to surrender and offer to Government half of his acquired land for sub-division.
This means that of the 550 hectares, 275 hectares is being offered to Government, which translates into 500 plots.
Vintula said the surrendering of this piece of land to Government conforms to the provisions of new land laws which allow a private land owner to voluntarily give back to government any piece or parcels of land they may not require for further development.
“Such surrendered land parcels are converted to public land. This gives government an opportunity to re-enter the said land and sub-divide it for reallocation to potential developers,” he said.
The first step according to Vintulla will be to re-survey the land and adjudicate the surrendered part.