Insider reveals systems failures & corruption in National Housing Corporation

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Former public servant,  94-year-old Evisa Evoa. A victim of a NHC eviction.  

A National Housing Corporation insider has revealed how the government organisation’s internal accounting and billing systems are in such disarray that corrupt officials are taking advantage of the systematic weaknesses.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he explained that the National Housing Corporation uses a computer system and software that has not been recently upgraded.

He has also revealed that the accounting system is not connected to the billing system. This means, the NHC cannot adequately account for any of the revenue it makes if and when it bills its tenants.

“A tenant can pay rent but the system is not updated. It’s a tedious process. It is a weak system. What we need is an overhaul of the accounting and billing system.”

While the Finance Department and other government agencies have done away with cash payments, the NHC’s provincial offices continue to accept cash payments exposing the organization to outright theft of government revenue.

“The officers are supposed to collect cash and make deposits and account for it through a receipt book,” he says. “But who would spend their own money paying for DHL or express mail to send the books to Port Moresby. So we don’t get the books.”

From information he supplied, the rental deductions shown on the pay slips of public servants end up with the Finance department and NOT the NHC. The Finance department, it is understood, owes the NHC up to K16 million in outstanding rental deductions.

“For older public servants, they may have records that they paid off all outstanding arrears and home ownership payments. But the NHC does not have records. Those records are with the Finance Department.

“So corrupt NHC officers who know the system, tell their wantoks that this person or that person has outstanding arrears so let’s evict them.

“The court system is also being abused because it has no way of verifying upfront that the ownership or what is owed is genuine.”

The rotin the organisation is clearly evident in its daily operations.

Many of the phone lines to the NHC headquarters have been cut due to non-payment of bills. Provincial offices don’t have operational phone lines, post office boxes, or internet connectivity. Their filing systems are manually done and are unreliable.

He said Lae is now the focus of many evictions because the City has the most number of houses listed under NHC ownership as many tenants await receipt of house titles.

“Most of the properties in Port Moresby have been sold off. So Lae is the next target. There are many houses there that the NHC still has listed as its own.”

Widowed grandmother evicted by NHC just before Christmas

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Post Courier front page
Story by Jack Lapauve, EMTV
Two families of former public servants are the latest victims of evictions by police.
They say despite a National Court Order in place, police evicted them without proper eviction documents.
The families’ will now spend Christmas outside the place they lived for over 30 years. Yesterday more than 5 police vehicles entered the premises to evict Lucy Agen and Cecelia Awi, both former public servants who have served the country for over 30 years.
Lucy Agen believes the eviction is illegal. According to the lawyer representing Lucy, a National Court Order is place to stop any further obstruction or notice from any party to transfer the title.   Lawyer Wesley Donald says this order has been breached.
Both Lucy and Cecelia have lived on this property for over 30 years. Lucy was working with the Lands Department while Cecelia served as a nurse. They now have grandchildren.
Both families  are questioning authorities.
A notice of no eviction over the festive season was recently posted in front of the office of the NCD Metropolitan Superintendent Commander. However police carrying out the eviction say the notice is no longer valid for this case.
These two families will now spend Christmas out in the street.
The title of the property is believed to have been transferred to a Chinese Businessman in the Gordons shopping area.

Bafiguo & Zuabe, the two women evicted by the National Housing Corporation

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Bafiguo Don and Zuabe Tinning. Both are health workers.

On Thursday night Bafiguoc Don, Angau Hospital’s Senior Physiotherapist was evicted from her home by people sponsored by the National Housing Corporation (NHC).

Her young child was ill with malaria. Her father lamented about how they as Morobeans were evicted in their own province.

Bafiguo had a valid tenancy agreement. She had in no way breached the terms of the agreement. She had also expressed interest in buying the property.

On Wednesday, afternoon just after 6pm, she came to the EMTV office in Lae asking if I could cover the story of her family’s eviction. Coincidentally, I had just returned  hours earlier from 4 Mile where 15 other families had been evicted from their blocks of land – some by alleged NHC officers.

The Lae MP was kind enough to go to 4 Mile and speak to the tenants. He called for a 9am meeting the next day in the Police conference room.

Bafiguo was advised to attend the meeting. She did so the next day and aired her concerns.

The next day, Thursday, she and her family were evicted!

On Friday, the National Housing Corporation struck again.

Another health worker, Zuabe Tinning, was evicted. Same story. Zuabe’s father had passed on in 2011. By 2012, Zuabe began receiving eviction notices with alleged outstanding arrears.

Zuabe said the figures were different every time an eviction order was given. Sometimes it would be high and sometimes low.

She went to the NHC office and asked for their records. The couldn’t produce any. But they demanded that she pay cash over the counter.

He has a title over the land. NOT the house title. And that’s where the trouble is. A land title comes from the Lands Department. NHC, supposedly, owns the house.

She also expressed interest to buy the house. No response from NHC.

The house she got evicted from is the only one she has every known. She grew up there.   Tonight, her family sleeps outside the fence that she erected for the property.

She said in an interview today: “This is my home. I don’t have anywhere else to go.”

NBC journo Charles Kekeng pays tribute to the bush pilot who touched many lives

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Captain Thomas Keindip was laid to rest on Saturday, 16 December

It was in May 2017.

I was with some members of Lae media on our way back from Finschaffen after the coverage of Sir Michael Somare’s visit his to old school, Dregahaffen.

Upon boarding a North Coast Aviation single engine plane, I was seated next to Late Captain Thomas Kendip. I pretended to be his co-pilot.

Our conversation that morning was unlike other trip we had together. He spoke with authority instructing me of what to touch and what not to touch or step on.

It reminded me of mid 90s at the Lutheran Mission along Malahang Road in Lae where Thomas used to ply the role of   big brother. He had commanded respect whether it was soccer or anything to do with Lutheran Church.

I recall as the plane ascended into the air, the experience I had in flight with late Thomas.

It was on the maiden trip of NCA’s P2-Sam “Spirit of Bulolo. ” He slowed the plane and landed at Sim Airstrip in Garaina, Bulolo District.

The other time was on a trip to Lae from Yus LLG of Kabwum District he took a short cut between the mountains right on top of a river during a cloudy day. This experience prompt me to ask: “Captain Kendip what made you a good pilot and are you afraid of taking the risk of flying everyday?”

With a big smile on his face he replied; “Small Bro, you from the south coast of Morobe you and your people deal with sea in good times and bad times. So do I.

“I’m from the rugged mountains of Kabwum, I know how to deal with mountains, clouds and even thunder storms.”

He concluded by saying; “The job I’m doing is my service to my people that’s why I decided not to fly big airlines. I shall be called by the Lord peacefully and not by a plane crash and I’m not afraid of death when flying.”

Few months later while in Madang filming a documentary I was shocked with the news of his passing. I knew it was not a plane crash, as I trusted Thomas more than any pilots.

It was confirmed that his health has failed.

God gave us life and he takes back his life in his own timing. The life of Late Captain Thomas Kendip to me was like “a simple star.” He grew up as settlement boy with a strong Christian faith.

He flew over some of the most dangerous terrain. He was a “ stunt bush pilot.” He maintained his Lutheran faith till his death.

Rest In eternal peace Awong!

NHC’s latest victim: Angau Hospital’s senior physiotherapist evicted tonight

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Bafiguo Don at 7pm tonight

Tonight, a family was evicted from their home by the National Housing Corporation – the Government organization whose purpose is to provide affordable housing for Papua New Guineans.

Bafiguo Don, her children and her dad were forced out of their home late this afternoon. Bafiguo is the senior physiotherapist at Angau Hospital.

Her father said: “Mipla Morobe ya. How na ol rausim mipla olsem lo ples blo mipla?”
She has a current tenancy agreement signed with the National Housing Corporation. She was in the process of buying the old government house she was living in at 12th Street in Lae.

Yesterday, she attended a meeting called by Lae MP, John Rosso who met with 15 other families from the 3 Mile and 4 Mile area of Lae City. They were also evicted. Many don’t have the means to fight legal battles against the National Housing Corporation.

Bafiguo’s properties were put outside her former home. The locks to the gate were changed and all the plants around the house were cut down.

Her older children are still outside the house. We helped her take her valuable documents and smaller children to her office at the Angau Physiotherapy Department where they will spend the night.

This manner of evictions is a gross injustice to our own people. Where is the humanity?   The justice system is expensive. The statement that justice is for all is a myth. The mamas and the papas at 4 Mile can’t afford a lawyer. They don’t trust the government systems. That is why they reached out to their political representative and the media for help.

Tonight, I sleep well in my home while another family suffers.

Again, I call for an investigation into the National Housing Corporation whose mission is to provide affordable housing to OUR people.

 

 

 

Lae MP John Rosso addresses recent victims of NHC evictions | by Martha Buckley, PNGFM

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Lae MP John Rosso today (Thursday)  addressed 15 families affected by  illegal evictions in the 3 mile and 4 mile areas  done by community members and some elements within the NHC.

Mr Rosso advised them that with the assistance from Met Supt Anthony Wagambie Jr police will help him get a case by case status of every case  so the matter can be pursued with Department of Lands and National Housing Corporation.

Mr.  Wagambie assured  Rosso that police will only act upon a proper court order and  from the District court and the National Court.

Both men  will work  to ensure Justice and truth prevails.

Rosso says  if the eviction  order is  fraudulent he will  will assist people obtain  legal representation.

Post Courier reports on 3mile, 4mile evictions in Lae

PostThere will be no more evictions of tenants who live in National Housing Corporation houses in the One to Four-Mile areas outside Lae, unless properly verified says Lae MP John Rosso.

He has put a stop to evictions as of yesterday.

And Lae police metropolitan Chief Superintendent Anthony Wagambie Jr supports the move as well.

Mr. Rosso appealed to community leaders and the police to confirm statements and court orders before carrying out evictions.

He said this after recent evictions of residents in these areas.

He told the evicted residents to file reports to the police and submit to him. He has also brought this matter to the attention of the Housing and Urbanisation Minister John Kaupa.

“I will talk with them and if your claim is legal I will help you, but if it is illegal then I will have nothing to do with it,” Mr. Rosso said.

He said housing was not his responsibility, but he was only trying to help resolve the issue to make sure fair play and justice takes place.

Mr Wagambie also told the evicted tenants to check if the eviction orders have national or district court stamps on them.

He said police would not execute evictions on their own unless they had been given an order to do so by the courts.

Mr. Wagambie said he would work closely with Mr. Rosso to investigate the matter to ensure validity.

He told the settlers that for the time being there will not be any evictions in the area concerned until the matter is brought before a court.

Mr Kaupa had issued a national directive to all regional NHC managers to stop evicting tenants in NHC houses, including in Lae.

“The Housing Minister’s standing is clear as far as evictions are concerned. Court ordered evictions is a legal matter but all agreements on purchase of properties of NHC will be reviewed under the new management for verification as it is a state asset,” Mr Kaupa said yesterday.

He said all directives given must be followed with no more evictions of tenants.

He said a task-force was being set up to address all alleged deals on the NHC properties.

“We are in the process of fixing up the many problems faced in the ministry and hope to bring the institution forward in 2018 and beyond to revive its core functions of providing affordable housing to all PNG citizens,” he said.

Mr. Kaupa said he did not want to see families affected due to the actions of a few with vested interests this festive season.

NHC Momase regional manager Joe Bulhage said to date there are no illegal evictions from NHC properties in Lae.

“Currently there are no administrative evictions in Lae. All evictions are conducted by virtue of court orders,” Mr. Bulhage said.

Mr. Bulhage said as far as he knew, there were three NHC evictions cases pending in court.

Evictions by NHC have to be investigated. Too many families suffering!

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Paun John talking to Lae MP, John Rosso. She  was told to leave  her property. She bought the government  land many years ago.

Over the last five years, there has been a string of home evictions that happened in Lae City driven by elements within the National Housing Corporation.

Many of those affected by the evictions are:

  1. Widows,
  2. Young men and women whose, parents have passed on,
  3. Those who have minimal education
  4. Those who don’t have the financial resources to fight legal battles.

In the 3 Mile and 4 Mile area, community leaders claiming to be village court magistrates are facilitating land and house sales. This is an open secret which people talk about.

Last week, I met Jimmy Pa’Ovi, he was told to leave the land on which he resided. An elderly Buang guy who has since passed on owned the land title. The land title was destroyed in a fire.

Jimmy has resided on the land for nine years. Last week, he was told to pack up and leave. He went to the National Housing Corporation Office in Lae. Jimmy says one of the officers told him, the house had been sold and Jimmy was offered K1000 to leave the property.

One could question the validity of that information. But, I’ve done too many of these stories to question its integrity. The modus operadi of these questionable government workers is the same. I’ve seen this over and over again in so many other cases.

Another man, a resident of 4 mile who is now in court to reclaim his home, was falsely accused of attempted murder. He spent one month in remand at Buimo prison. During his absence,   his block and house was sold off. When the court acquitted him, he found that his house had been sold off.

This is injustice!

If this is not so, show me your evidence, and I will show you mine with dozens of victims who are suffering.

It is a cash cow for those in the system. It is being milked for all it is worth. I have personally been to dozens of Public Accounts Committee hearings in which evidence has been presented that shows the rampant corruption within the National Housing Corporation.

Has it been fixed?

Hundreds of Papua New Guineans have been kicked out of their houses. Victimized in their own country by government agencies that are supposed to serve them.

In 4 Mile alone, 15 families have been evicted very quietly. It is absolutely disgusting that we do this to our own people.

I pay their salaries through tax. I want an investigation into the National Housing Corporation.

Nick Turner gives top marks to the humble rice cooker

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I have an aversion to odd numbers; but good things come in threes, or so I’ve heard.

I’ve recently discovered that there are three things that prove to be a life-saver in an under-stocked kitchen environment: a heat source, cooking bowl and thermostat.

The rice cooker combines these three incredibly simple elements in such a way that Yoshitada Mizami, the man who cooked up the electric incarnation of this mighty device, remains a surprise absentee from Nobel Prize listings at the like.

The original rice steamer dates back to 1250BC, made from ceramic, and no doubt fashioned as the result of an experiment conducted by a male or female who had far better things to do than stand around waiting patiently for a pot of water to come to the boil.

So a rice cooker; designed to boil and steam rice, an item that up until a few weeks ago I had never subscribed to using. Laziness of the highest order, I had always thought.

Of all the challenges that we face in life, putting a pot of water on to boil, adding rice to said water and waiting patiently for it to cook isn’t exactly a difficult task.

But here I am, waiting for the generator to kick in, when both the ceiling fan and rice cooker can be cranked to the proverbial 11, sitting patiently in an excited lather of tropical sweat for the subsequent time to pass.

My life has now changed, I’ve had a moment. Religious, somewhat. The simple, humble rice cooker has given my life new meaning.

So far I’ve fried eggs, boiled eggs, even poached eggs in this magnificent beast. I’ve boiled pasta and made pancakes, baked bread, and baked a cake. I’ve steamed vegetables, and leafy greens have been simmered in coconut milk. I’ve even cooked rice, on several occasions, amongst many more things in this incredible contraption.

The ‘Keep Warm’ setting on the rice cooker I have keeps items at a steady 65 degrees. This essentially means you can cook the perfect egg in a rice cooker, as molecular gastronomy types have spent years in kitchens determining that the white of an egg begins to coagulate at around 63-65 degrees, while the yolk remains runny as it doesn’t harden until 67 degrees +.

I’m eating a lot of eggs, it seems.

So I now take back every bad word I have ever said about rice cookers, and their users. Consider me the first disciple to preach at the church of the electric rice cooker. What a piece of genius.

Reducing import dependance, a move that should be supported

AGRIFor years, I’ve watched with a great deal of frustration as successive governments paid lip service to  “agriculture investment.”

Just when you thought they had gotten it right, the concept would, somehow, become embroiled in controversy.

Take for example, the ‘Green Revolution.” A good nationalistic concept (at least for the short term) supported by the PNGDF Air Transport Squadron. It died a slow death because it was unsupported.

And remember the K100 million for the National Agriculture Development Plan (NADP)?   What happened to it? Some of the money went to fat cat paper farmers who lapped up the funding leaving nothing tangible to show. Has anyone been arrested, charged and made an example of?

For years, we have been getting it wrong because we listened to the wrong advice.

Agriculture, in the ASPLES Papua New Guinea context, doesn’t mean coffee, cocoa… It’s not even close to oil palm.   Although, I heard,  at one gathering in Markham in 2013, a political heavy tried to convince, the Markhams how “oil palm was important for food security.”

Agriculture means growing FOOD. That’s it!

And we are experts at it!

By Jove, we’ve been doing this for 50,000 years. The world’s oldest agricultural find is in Kup in the Simbu Province. The Simbus dug drainage ditches   and farmed the land long before anyone else thought about it.

But it took us 40 years to travel the wilderness. We looked down on our own roots and our own expertise and abilities. We looked down on our 50,000 years of knowledge and chose to listen to outside advice.

In 2016, Enga Governor, Peter Ipatas, told me, he wanted Enga to take over 100 percent of PNG’s potato market through the establishment of a nucleus  agricultural estate on statement land, supported by out-growers in the community.

Two weeks ago, Israeli company, Innovative Agro Industries,  which set up shop last year,  bought 4000 tons of potatoes from Engans in the Sirunki Valley.  Did the Engans need any special training to grow potatoes?

In 2019, Morobe will be producing milk and other dairy products. A nucleus farm on government land at Yalu will be the hub  for this new dairy farm.  Planning Minister, Richard Maru says he wants to see quick end to PNG’s dairy import bill of K400 million.

The people will partly own this project. Their land value will be converted into shares, they will provide security, and the personnel for the farm. Those not directly employed by the farm will grow the corn needed to feed the cows.

Having said that, this is NOT an endorsement of the company but an effort to highlight what we are capable of doing as a country using our own resources.

We don’t need packaged, frozen potato chips imported from Australia. Soon the Engans will be producing it out of Sirunki Valley. We don’t need milk imported from New Zealand. The Morobeans will be producing it from Yalu.

Reduce imports, we can and we must.

We have to be in control of our land. We have to own the projects and provide the manpower required. THAT is “landowner participation.”

And government… continue to build the roads and bridges, please.