Morobe Governor, Ginson Saonu, has demanded a stop to evictions carried out by the National Housing Corporation in the city of Lae.
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 with 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 them 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 organisation say the accounting and the billing systems need an overhaul which will cost the government money.
They also point out that cash payments need to be stopped and an audit needs to be conducted to determine the health of the organisation.