NHC inquiry underway

The inquiry into the National Housing Corporation dealings has already started.

The chair of the committee, Gary Juffa, said NHC has been cooperating with the Special Parliamentary Committee on Public Sector Reform & Service Delivery.

Dubious dealings within the National Housing Corporation have been conducted –unchecked – over the years, resulting in average Papua New Guineans losing their homes to buyers who were not even tenants of the property in question.

The Special Parliamentary Committee on Public Sector Reform has recently been revived following funding from the Government, which means they can now take on the enormous task of overhauling and restructuring the public service machinery.

Juffa said their short-term strategy to reform the public sector involves looking at “symptoms” that indicate that an organisation is not functioning as expected.

“In this instance, we are looking at the recent media report and other reports that have come in about these activities taking place particularly in Lae,” Juffa stated.

“We’re actually working with the National Housing Corporation executives. We met with Ms (Elizabeth) Bowada, who is the, I believe, acting managing director. She presented her report and she also highlighted some of the issues you (Lae media) raised as well.”

Juffa said from basic discussions, it has been established that illegal occupation of NHC properties comes in two forms: legal tenants who are defaulting on payment and those who have not been authorised to occupy the dwelling.

“The other matter of grave concern is the fact that these properties are purportedly being sold. Who are they being sold by and why are they being sold and to who?”

Juffa said the committee’s responsibility is to identify issues within an organisation and make recommendations on what needs to be done. If acts of impropriety by individuals are identified, the information would be forwarded to relevant authorities such as the police, the Independent Commission Against Corruption or the Ombudsman Commission.

(Evictees with their placard in Lae, Morobe Province)

Carmella Gware