NHC’s John Dege a ‘Success Star’ claims new MD
In a world becoming increasingly accustomed to fake news, yesterday we were delivered up a howling example of ‘alternative facts’, delivered by caretaker Managing Director of the National Housing Corporation, Ditha Morris.
The NHC, and its private arm, the National Housing Estate Limited, over the past five years have been slammed by the Auditor General and Public Accounts Committee for mismanagement, corruption and impunity. It is alleged 11,000 properties remain unaccounted for, many of which have been sold off, under the radar, with the proceedings being pocketed by public officials and private speculators. NHC and NHEL records are in disarray or are non-existent. And often brute force has been used to evict legal tenants.
So it came as something of a surprise this week when Morris described outgoing NHC Managing Director as a ‘success star’.
Morris explained: ‘When Dege came in, NHC was on the brink of collapsing. But when he came in, that changed’.
More generally Morris applauded the work of NHC staff claiming they are professionals who ‘brought NHC to this height’.
Who are we to contest Mr Morris. But it is rather interesting that Mr Dege’s departure from the NHC comes very soon after the National Court implicated him in a fraud perpetrated by the suspended Minister for Defence, Fabian Pok.
Nevertheless, in honor of Mr Morris’ glowing testimonial, we thought PNG Exposed might review some of the NHC’s ‘star’ moments under Dege’s four year reign.
Star moment 1 – Dege organises a sweetheart housing deal for government Minister Fabian Pok that was slammed by the courts as fraudulent.
Star moment 2 – Under Dege’s watch the Duran Farm development went from bad to worse, including the contracting of a developer on the World Bank black list – even today the project is far from complete.
Star moment 3 – The NHC administered brutal eviction exercises against legal tenants using armed gangs, paid for out of taxpayer money – often these exercises paved the way for illegal housing sell offs to private developers at cut down rates.
Star moment 4 – Dege attempted to team the NHC’s private real-estate arm up with Gudmundur Fridriksson and the Paga Hill Development Company. This is a developer with a dubious history spread across the pages of Commissions of Inquiries, Auditor General Reports and Public Accounts Committee inquiries.
Star moment 5 – The so called NHC subsidiary National Housing Estate Limited has managed to handle public housing without submitting an annual return to the IPA since 2009, or making account to the Auditor General. Quite an achievement, but totally illegal.
Star moment 6 – According to the Auditor General the NHC’s books and management processes remain shambolic and open to all varieties of corrupt schemes.
We could go on. But you get the idea.
In this light, the people of PNG might rightly shudder at Mr Morris’s promise that ‘he planned to carry on the work outgoing managing director John Dege’.
That is a worrying prospect indeed!!