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.”