The National Housing Corporation branch in Lae is attempting to force another lot of families out of their homes.
Up to 20 families living in a set of old brick units along Lae’s 7th street were given notices to pay outstanding arrears or face the possibility of eviction after 21 days.
This is not the first time, the government entity has tried to force them out of their homes. Previous attempts were unsuccessful after the tenants fought back in court.
One of the main concerns of the tenants has been the manner in which the NHC has been demanding payments of outstanding arrears and the reliability of NHC records.
John Poroda, one of the many residents, says the NHC’s financial records are in disarray. They have not been given receipts for the previous payments and in many instances, they’re been asked to pay cash.
“There’s no remittance advice. The documents appears to have been sent from Port Moresby.”
On Friday, the residents requested a meeting with the Lae MP John Rosso. They have asked him to talk to the Housing Minister on their behalf.
This will be the latest meeting requested by National Housing Corporation Tenants threatened with eviction. In November, Rosso intervened on behalf two Lae nurses – Bafiguo Don and Zuabe Tining – who were evicted from their homes in the same manner. The intense public pressure and intervention from the Housing Minister, John Kaupa, caused the NHC management in Port Moresby to reverse the decision made in Lae.
“Of course we understand that the NHC is the legal owner of the property but at the same token we have to establish if the areas given are the exact amount,” Rosso said.
I know for a fact that the National Housing Corporation’s official records system is in disarray… It has been for the last decade. They are unable to track how much is owed and how much has been paid.
Zuabe Tining said in November 2017 that she was told to pay cash at the NHC office. Andrew Augwi, who was then Acting Regional Manager, said the office had no functioning bank account and tenants who paid rent were being told to pay cash at the NHC office.
He showed me a room where official records where being kept in boxes and on the floor. It is not a secret that the NHC’s records are NOT in order.
Many tenants have opted to seek help from their political representative because the systems of government don’t work in their interests. The courts take too long, the police act on (sometimes) faulty court orders and the NHC sells houses and then forces the existing tenants to move out.
While the National Housing Corporation may have legal rights over the properties, the organisation’s track record of poor management and corruption means the public has no confidence in it.