Trustees of Mulhakho wa Alhomwe say they have rebuffed money the government is offering them as compensation for a prime piece of land which the government repossessed from the association.
The grouping last year sued the State and Southern Region Commissioner for Lands Kwame Ngwira for withdrawing the land from them, demanding judicial review of the decision.
But when asked on the progress on the matter on Wednesday, Mulhakho wa Alhomwe Administrator Muchanankhwaye Mpuluka said they rebuffed the compensation in favour of the court’s determination on the matter.
“After getting an injunction restraining the government from withdrawing the land until the court reviews the decision, the government wrote a letter asking for discontinuance of the matter saying they would compensate us.
“But since we are not interested in the money, we rebuffed the compensation and opted for continuance of the matter in the court and we’re just waiting for the court to set a date for trial,” Mpuluka said.
He further said even if the grouping were to accept the compensation, it could not make sense to accept an unspecified amount in the first place.
When contacted on the matter on Wednesday, Attorney General Anthony Kamanga said it would be unprofessional to give out details of this issue since it is still in court.
“You know we have not shared any information on this because we don’t like giving it to the press; it’s not professional,” Kamanga said.
He further said he discourages his staff from giving information to the press on such matters for fear of being seen to be undermining them.
“As a policy, I do not encourage the staff [in the Attorney General’s office] to make statements in the press because we don’t want to undermine a matter that is in court,” he said.
The land in question is 1.78 hectare in size, located between Chichiri Shopping Mall and Chichiri Prison in Blantyre.
This wrangle began following a letter dated August 9, 2012, reference number SR/BT/10/54 from Ngwira to the grouping, informing them of the withdrawal of the land.
The letter cited the groupings failure to pay premium and other related fees and duties within the required 60 days, beginning July 12, 2010, as the main reason.
He further enclosed a cheque from Public Land Development Treasury Fund account, returning K840,705 which Mulhakho had initially paid for the land whose total value was K5.9 million.
The grouping, however, refused to accept the cheque, saying they could not allow the government to withdraw the land since they wanted to develop it by constructing offices and an amusement park.
It, therefore, commenced legal proceedings challenging the decision and asking for judicial review, describing the seizure as political.
High Court Judge Joseph Manyungwa granted them an injunction on August 17, 2012 restraining the government from going ahead with its decision until the court made its determination on the matter.