Government has suspended Siavonga District Council for alleged illegal land allocation involving senior officers including the council secretary.
Minister of Local Government, Housing, Early Child Education and Environmental Protection Nkandu Luo, who announced the development at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, said the suspension of the local authority is with immediate effect.
Prof Luo said she will not entertain petitions from anyone over the suspension of the council.
“Owing to reliable reports received by my ministry on alleged corrupt practices which include irregular allocation of plots, I have decided to invoke statutory provisions under the Local Government Act (Section 88) to suspend the council to allow for investigations.
“I have signed a statutory instrument suspending Siavonga District Council. The instrument will be published in the Government Gazette appropriately,” she said.
Prof Luo said her ministry has received numerous reports of council officials allocating themselves pieces of land meant to benefit the general public.
“It is a situation where the council advertises a piece of land but instead of allocating it to members of the public, they (council officials) share the land amongst themselves and later sell the pieces of land to members of the public,” she said.
Prof Luo said Southern Province local government administrator Alex Bwalya has been appointed to manage operations at the local authority.
She said Mr Bwalya will discharge all the functions at the council for an initial 90 days until investigations are concluded.
The minister said Government will not tolerate misconduct among council officials who are supposed to work hard to deliver improved services to the people.
Prof Luo said Government will remain focused to ensure that corruption in local authorities is fought and culprits are brought to book.
She said President Sata and his administration will not relent in fighting corruption and warned of stern action against perpetrators of the vice.
The minister said there will be no sacred cows in the anti-corruption crusade. She said abuse of office, laziness or direct theft of public resources will not be tolerated.
Prof Luo said the suspension of the Siavonga District Council should serve as a lesson to other local authorities and senior officers who engage in corrupt activities because the long arm of the law will catch up with them some day.
She said Government will not condone any departure from the accepted norms, practices and procedures in the management of local authorities.
[Zambia Daily Mail]