Minister: No favours in NHC housing scheme
Posted Tuesday, July 24 2012 at 13:57
Housing minister Soita Shitanda has denied there was favourable treatment to some applicants of houses sold by the National Housing Corporation.
Mr Shitanda, however, blamed the NHC management for their “apparent weaknesses” in complying with the housing policies and allocating themselves more than one housing unit.
Mr Shitanda said Tuesday all beneficiaries of the housing scheme were subjected to the same conditions before they got the units, but the NHC staff gave themselves preferential treatment.
The chairman, Bosire Ogero, got five units while the Managing Director James Ruitha got four. The Finance manager Manasseh Wandabwa got nine and the company secretary Elizabeth Mbugua is said to have amassed 21 units.
They have since been suspended, he said.
“No houses are reserved for any selected members of the society and all applicants are subjected to the same allocation criteria,” he said.
“We have embarked on measures to address the apparent weaknesses particularly with respect to compliance with the policy, procedures and ethical practice.”
A report by the NHC internal audit team revealed that the firm had had a tradition of “malpractices to take advantage of the mystery surrounding the unverified requests” of houses, where some individuals got more than one unit.
The Efficient Monitoring Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office also found similar malpractices, showing that some top government officials paid for and got houses long after the deadline for submitting applications.
Some of the officials mentioned include Housing Assistant minister Margaret Wanjiru said to have got two units.
However, Mr Shitanda, whose wife also got a unit in Kakamenga, said that his assistant got only one unit “on merit” and that his wife "applied as any Kenyan".
He explained that housing units constructed by the NHC were given out only to persons who could either pay the entire amount in cash or pay a deposit of 20 per cent of the selling price.
“It is unfair therefore to accuse any allotee of having received favourable treatment while several houses remain unsold and available to any applicant.”
Among the schemes with unsold houses include those in Migori and Kakamega.
According to him, the Corporation allowed applicants who miss out on a particular scheme to carry forward their money to future schemes, meaning top government officials who missed out on earlier schemes were given priority.
In Kileleshwa, for instance, houses sold between Sh8 -13 million.
The Minister said the matter will be determined by recommendations of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) that is investigating the scandal.