The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has warned Malawians against buying land from fraudsters who impersonate workers at the ministry.
The warning has been issued following reports that a fraudster stole money from several politicians after lying to them that the ministry had allocated them land.
In a statement signed by Secretary for Lands Charles Msosa, the ministry says it receives all the money which it charges its clients through designated banks appointed by government and not through agents.
“Payments are made either by cash or bank certified cheques payable to Malawi Government.
“Development charges and other related fees and duties are only effected after the respective Regional Commissioner for Lands has endorsed on the offer letters which are issued by the same officer authorizing the bank and the accounts office to accept payment and issue the Malawi Government General Receipts,” says the statement.
Malawians have also been reminded that the ministry does not allocate plots through telephone calls since offer letters are always issued in writing and are always signed by the Commissioner for Lands and the three Regional Commissioners for Lands for the South, North and Centre.
Msosa in the statement has advised Malawians to immediately report to the police any person who demands money from them through telephone calls on the pretext that such money will be paid to the ministry so that they can be allocated plots in their preferred areas.
“The public is further advised that any person who deposits money into a personal account of someone claiming to be an agent of the Ministry or an agent of some senior officers in the Ministry after being advised to do so through the telephone, will be doing so at their own risk,” the statement says.
In the press release, the ministry says it has also noted with concern that there are some fraudsters who prepare fake title deeds or lease documents for land which has already been allocated to other developers.
It is said that these fake documents are presented to the prospective purchasers as if they have been prepared by the ministry of lands.
The ministry has advised Malawians to verify the authenticity of the title deeds and the certificates of lease or land certificates with the respective Regional Commissioners for Lands before paying for the plots.
In February this year, Presidential Advisor on Youth Affairs Symon Vuwa Kaunda was duped K1.4 million by a fraudster who disguised himself as Controller of Lands at the Ministry of Lands in Lilongwe.
The fraudster said the land had been offered to Kaunda by the President Peter Mutharika but the Malawi leader denied the claims.
Other victims include Parliamentarian Patricia Kaliati and former agriculture minister Allan Chiyembekeza.