Usually the question that gets asked when a family is being evicted by the National Housing Corporation is: How was the title was obtained?
A former tenant of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) has come forward with documents that show that the NHC management did not know how a prime Lae property he had been living in was sold.
Despite orders by the NHC management to cancel the sale of the property, the sale went ahead.
In 2015, the man who asked not to be identified, received this letter of offer from the National Housing Corporation in Lae seeking if he would be interested in buying a property he had been living in for more than 10 years as part of the government housing giveaway scheme.
“When I first moved in, the house was rundown. We fixed the plumbing and sewerage. Then when I wanted to do another set of renovations, I asked the NHC and the management said: ‘don’t put hammer and nail on it. We will give you an offer of sale.’
The NHC then gave him the offer of sale.
He replied a letter of acceptance and paid a deposit of K10,000 into the National Housing Corporation Account. The NHC, recorded the payment and gave him a receipt.
But as he waited for the formalities to be completed, a second buyer approached him and told him that he had, already in his possession, a title to the property.
“When I asked the NHC management about it, they were surprised that the property had been sold.
“So all of 2017, I went back and forth to Port Moresby. I even obtained documents from the NHC. While waiting for them to make a decision, the new buyer forced me out.”
Internal documents show that NHC’s senior management had no knowledge of the sale. In footnotes written on internal memos, various senior officers confirmed that the sale was done illegally.
The NHC’s General Manager for properties then wrote to his deputy stating: “…There is no evidence of a valuation offer being done and normal conveyancing was done outside of this office amounting to fraud.
“The sale must be cancelled immediately to avoid further legal proceedings against the NHC…”
The memo goes further to highlight serious internal problems that need correction.
“…There are certain officers collaborating with Lands officers and misleading the Managing Director to have documents signed without consulting the division responsible.
In 2015, another Lae resident, John Bangui, faced a similar situation. He was evicted from a property in Lae City even after paying K74,000 to the NHC.
While waiting for the title to be issued, the property was sold to a Lae Businessman.
“There are corrupt elements that take houses belonging to other people and sell it to make quick money. It’s rotten. I’m guessing those higher up know about it but are doing nothing.”
John Bangui estimates that at least 40 families in Lae have either been evicted or have been threatened with eviction.
In February 2017, John and Lucy Benta’s family were evicted from their nephew’s Cormorant Street home in Lae.
His nephew, Dickson, employed as a health professional, had taken a transfer to East New Britain when the eviction happened in his absence.
The eviction happened months before the elections as did many others. John’s wife Lucy and her daughter were the only ones in the house when armed police and National Housing Corporation Officers forced them to leave.
“The officer from the NHC came a broke the clothes line and tore everything off it. They treated us like criminals.”
The family initially camped beside the fence. Then they were told to leave again. They have since been camping a few meters from where they used to live under a tent made from tarpaulin given by friends and neighbors while the new tenants have taken up residence in their former home.
John says, they can’t move because they’ve begun a court process. His nephew and his in-law have been listed as plaintiffs in what has now become a lengthy court battle to regain possession of the house.
By next month, the family will have spent a year living in the tent waiting for justice to be delivered.
“We could have left a long time a ago. But we have a court case that is in progress. My nephew is a plaintiff. The court system is taking so long.”
Living in a tent has not been easy.
When the rain comes, the water flows through the tent. Both John who, walks with a limp, and Lucy have developed various health problems. They have also had to move one of their daughters elsewhere after they were threatened several times.
“People have come here at night and stolen our bank cards and ID cards.”
According to John, his nephew is seeing payroll deductions being made from his salary as payments for the house they used to live in. This is a common scenario for many public servants who have been evicted from state properties.
This is just one of many evictions in Lae over the 2017 period. In December, The Lae MP, John Rosso, intervened to assist two families forced out of their homes.
They have since regained possession of their homes . There has also been widespread condemnation of the National Housing corporation’s methods of forcefully evicting tenants.
Not many Papua New Guineans watch English Rugby League. But Over 48 hours, our people have come to know one team in particular – the Widnes Vikings – all because of Kato Otto.
Ottio didn’t even play a game with them. Nor did he get the chance to wear the Vikings jersey.
They may be an English team, but what they displayed resonated with resonated with many Papua New Guineans. They honoured a fallen brother in the most profound way possible.
The Vikings, sent their message of condolence to the family. They honoured Ottio’s memory with silence. They carried the PNG flag on to the field during their match and they went further to give support to the family
Those are no small gestures. You have no idea how important that is to our many cultures.
To the Widness Vikings, in Papua New Guinea, we have a word we use for things like this.
It’s called “Pasin.”
It is difficult to explain it in one word. It is defined with many words that embodies the true Papua New Guinean spirit.
It means showing love and affection, honouring one’s commitment, kindness, generosity, steadfast loyalty, brotherhood, sisterhood, respect for self, your elders and for your family in life and in death.
It means accepting a stranger as your own brother. It means standing up for the downtrodden and supporting those who have suffered a loss. It means caring for widows and mothers who have lost their sons.
In Papua New Guinea, we celebrate life, we mourn the dead and we care for those left behind with their loss. you did all that.
You showed all that. You showed “Pasin” not only with words but with deeds.
Maybe tomorrow, next year, next season, you will forget the good that you did. Maybe the young ones who come after you will not remember. But your team name is now a part of PNG rugby league history and the people.
My interest in shark calling started some years ago when I first met a Catholic priest who has spent four decades on the remote island of New Ireland – a long, thin strip of land off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Among many incredible stories, Father Glynn told me about communities who prided themselves on their ability to lure 10ft sharks into their canoes.
I didn’t altogether believe him. But recently I read the journals of Abel Tasman, the Dutch explorer who discovered Tasmania. In the middle of descriptions of cannibals and headhunters, he mentioned of a band of New Guineans catching a very large shark, armed with just a club and a leaky canoe. And this was in 1642.
I was hooked. And so, eager to find out more, I set off for New Ireland, via Manila and Port Moresby. After two days on planes and eight hours of bumping along dusty plantation roads, I arrived in the middle of the night in Kontu, home of the shark callers of New Ireland.
And what a welcome. All the children of the community (about 300 of them) crowded around me. Out of nowhere, came a dinner of rice and taro. I was serenaded with a selection of local songs as I sat under a tropical sky so filled with stars that I felt I was inside a huge colander with a torch shining through.
I spent the night inside the village “hausboy” – the communal sleeping place for all single males – and there I lay, metres from the rolling sea, my sleep disturbed only by a recurring dream in which I was savagely ripped apart underwater.
The next day, I was introduced to Selam Kirisibe, reputedly the greatest shark caller of our time. He was a soft-spoken, wiry man of 55 with a permanent bright red smile, his teeth stained by years of chewing betel nut. He had caught more than 150 sharks, and all this battling had given him the physique of a 20-year-old.
He agreed to take me out and teach me the “ways of the shark”, for a fee. This was not a tourist rip off – all the shark-callers of Kontu had, at one point, paid an elder for “the knowledge”. No fee, no magic. My initiation began straight away.
I was first taught about what I must not do. Shark callers have to be male. They cannot eat wild pig or crayfish, nor accept any food from the hand of a fertile woman for 24 hours before the excursion. They must take care not to step on any excrement lying on the beach. And they cannot have sex. The shark is a wily animal, I was told, and will smell you have been up to no good.
The seas were full of silvertips, great reef, black tips, hammerheads and tiger sharks. But it was the mako shark that the caller wanted, because the community believed that the spirits of the ancestors resided in its body. And it was calling their ancestors that caused the shark to come.
To awaken the spirits, the caller anoints himself and his canoe with secret herbs. Then he paddles out to the reef and symbolically spears the coral to arouse the spirit of Moro – the shark god. This done, he takes out a larung, a rattle fashioned out of bamboo and coconut shells, and begins shaking it in the sea. Finally, he chants the age-old songs of the shark. If the shark answers the call, the hunter entices it to the side of his canoe and, softly stroking it, slips a loop of vine over its head.Then he clubs it to death.
After two days of learning the ritual, I was eager to set off, but Selam told me that the sharks would not come until the sea had calmed.
Then, one morning, he woke me before dawn to say that the waves had settled and the two of us walked down to the beach . After wiping everything with the special herbs, we dragged our sleek brown canoes into the ocean and set off.
We pushed outwards in silence: the only sound was the slapping of the waves on the hull. About 2km offshore, Selam placed his oar to one side, and began rattling his coconut husks. I joined in, and for the next 10 minutes we sat, gently rocking, with the dawn lighting up the coastline.
Selam began to sing a soft, melancholy tune that drifted over the waves. He paused and nodded to me to follow suit. I complied, self-consciously, and we sang in unison for half an hour, the coconuts dipping into the clear water, our voices filling the morning air.
Suddenly, I saw Selam tense. And there it was – an 8ft grey-backed mako shark, rising from the deep and gliding in a long, slow circling motion up to our canoes. Its whole body exuded a graceful menace.
I was filled with a sudden panic. After all, a canoe is not the most stable of vessels, and I wasn’t the most confident of oarsmen. But the shark did not seem agitated by our calling – just curious.
That week, we tried four more times to call up a shark, but each time the rain pushed us back to shore as the sea grew restless. But how I called my first shark remains etched in my memory.
British Airways (0345 222111) flies to Port Moresby, via Manila, for £1,530 return. Air Nuigini (020-7707 4146) flies Port Moresby-Kavieng, New Ireland daily for £203. For details of tours and accommodation, see www.discovernewireland.org.pg/. The best time to go is in the dry season, from May to October.
Original link from the Guardian: Click here
Morobe Governor, Ginson Saonu, has demanded a stop to evictions City in Lae carried out by the National Housing Corporation.
Governor Saonu said today that internal issues between the tenants and the NHC had to be sorted out before evictions are conducted.
“Three things a person needs… Food, clothes and shelter. They should not be evicted. The NHC should put a stop to the exercise.”
In December, the National Housing Corporation was dealt a severe blow to its already battered image as two women in Lae fought against two separate eviction orders.
Nursing professionals, Zuabe Tining and Bafiguo Don were evicted from their homes. The eviction orders delivered by officers from the National Housing Corporation.
Both their families were forced to camp out in the open days before Christmas. The Lae MP, John Rosso, intervened by seeking legal assistance. When both women fought back through the courts, the public backlash against the National housing Corporation was swift and severe.
Within a week, both women got the keys to their houses back and the NHC management issued a formal statement saying the evictions were being investigated and that a senior officer to Lae for that purpose.
“Why should I be evicted from a house I’ve lived in for over 30 years for which I have the land title,” said Zuabe Tinging.
Zuabe and Bafiguo’s plight brought to light the rot in the National Housing Corporation.
A prominent member of Lae’s Sepik Community, Thompson Benguma, has also come forward with his account of an attempted eviction in 2015 for a property consisting of several old government houses.
He and other tenants protested and found that the NHC could not prove, using their own records that the tenants owed the money
“I found that there are a lot of discrepancies. They said each family owed them K12,985. It was a uniform amount. How could that be?
“Some officers are producing records that are questionable and they give it to tenants. When they can’t pay, they quickly sell the property to a buyer.”
Insiders within the National Housing Corporation have provided information related to the evictions and the inner workings of the organization say the accounting and the billing systems need an overhaul which will costs the government money.
They also point out that cash payments needs to be stopped and an audit needs to be conducted to determine the health of the organisation,.
The biggest and oldest radio network in the country, the NBC has just issued a directive to all its national radio announcers to remove all music tracks from Wildpack from its playlist.
I am personally encouraged that NBC which has a long history of professionalism and quality has taken this important decision.
Last week, a disgusting video emerged showing Wildpack group member John Tamasi (Jay Tee), beating a younger artist, Raga Siaii.
It was no fight.
The older Jay Tee, pummeled the Raga as he cowered on the bed. Then, Jay Tee tore Raga’s t-shirt as he tried to force him to stand up.
He continued to punch him until Raga opened the room door and fled.
The backlash was swift and severe.
Memes mocking John Tamasi and Wildpack flooded Facebook. The jokes were merciless.
If anyone thought that would have prevented an idiotic, unclultured, uneducated response, it didn’t.
The fool who took the video, Eldiz Mune (another plastic musician) went on Facebook and told everyone he filmed the video after hurling verbally abusive diarrhea about every man and his mother.
It didn’t stop there.
He went on to date everyone on Lae who complained to meet him at the Cabana club on the 12th of January.
His rock ape behaviour didn’t stop there.
He went on to tell the Port Moresby supporters that he would be performing at Club Illusions this week.
But… Karma is a (beep!).
Club Illusions cancelled his gig. I guess having a guest invite people to do violence at your workplace isn’t a great idea after all.
The NBC FM Morobe have also banned Wildpack music on their stations.
NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, has also become involved. His office will be writing to radio stations to ban the group’s music which is highly derogatory to women and girls.
Veteran musician, Leonard Kania, also responded calling the “filmmaker” a coward and for the Jay Tee to “step down.”
Earlier, Eldiz Mune, tried writing an apology on Facebook. But it didn’t get far. It was simply ridiculous and comical.