Malawi
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NTCHEU CHIEFS QUESTION BWANJE VALLEY LAND OWNERSHIP

Inkosi Masasa:We were surprised in 2014 when Spearhead Holdings Limited officials arrived in our area claiming to own the land through a 1983 lease

Some Traditional leaders from Ntcheu district have accused Spearhead Holdings Limited of illegally owning a 8904 hectares of land in the Bwanje Valley.

In an interview Inkosi Masasa questioned how the private owned company which is managed by GRAHAM CARR accuired the vast customary land without the chiefs approval.

“In normal circumstances one can not obtain a tittle deed for a customary land without an authorisation letter from chiefs”.

Traditional Masasa said:”We were surprised in 2014 when Spearhead Holdings Limited officials arrived in our area claiming to own the land through a 1983 lease to Spearhead Enterprises a company operating under the defunct Malawi Young Pioneers ( MYP)”.

Inkosi Masasa said MYP was not operating in his area hence rubbishing the claim.

“History has it that MYP never operated or had a structure in our area and together with my subjects we are wondering how Spearhead Holdings Limited is claiming ownership of our land,” He added.

Group Village Headman Yesaya:Spearhead Holdings Limited officials failed to produce an authorisation letter from the chiefs when the matter was brought in court in 2018

Group Village Headmen Yesaya and Elisa from the area,said Spearhead Holdings Limited officials failed to produce an authorisation letter from the chiefs when the matter was brought in court in 2018 in the presence of then District Commissioner of Ntcheu Smart Gwedemula.

” After failing to show the court how they accquired the land they later changed tune saying they are claiming ownership of the land following a 43 Million Kwacha debt by former Head of State Hastings Kamuzu Banda to some commercial banks in the country,” said Group Village Headman Yesaya.

Former Malawi Young Pioneer serviceman Ringsta Mpoma Moyo who claims to have handled administrative works for Spearhead Enterprises concurred with the chiefs and wondered how the company is claiming ownership of the land when he recently finished leasing part of the claimed land, a process he started in 2017.

When reached for comment Gwedemula only said he found the issue and left it unresolved after the end his tenure of office as the District Commissioner.

GRAHAM CARR official Ackno Mbewe dismissed the chiefs claims saying Spearhead Holdings Limited legally owned the Bwanje Estate through the 1983 lease to Spearhead Enterprises.

“After the land was idle for sometime due to some circumstances they( chiefs) claimed ownership of the land and later later they leased it to Motor Engil and sold part of it Crown Plantations.” He said.

Ringsta Mpoma Moyo

Mbewe also disclosed that Spearhead Holdings Limited is partly owned by government with 45 percent and that the Bwanje Estate is earmarked for the recently proposed Mega farms.

Our Investigations and documents in our possession have revealed that before accquring part of the Bwanje Estate land, Crown Plantations made a notice in public for any disgruntled person or organization to dispute their acquisition of the land.

However on January 21, 2023 the high court in Blantyre passed a judgement in favour of Spearhead Holdings Limited after it complained of land encroachment by Motor Engil and Crown Plantations.

Meanwhile Crown Plantations has filed an appeal against the ruling saying it legally accuired the land and that Spearhead Holdings Limited is under receivership meaning the company is under GRAHAM CARR, therefore not suitable to sue.

Following the ruling Spearhead Holdings Limited on March 7, 2023 applied to the high court for the assessment of damages amounting to over 2 Billion Kwacha from Crown Plantations and 68 Million Kwacha from Motor Engil.