RAPHAEL WAYNE DAMOK
MORE than 70 National Cultural Commission (NCC) staff and officers including the director Dr Jacob Simet were locked out of their office by the landlord in Port Moresby yesterday for non-payment of rental bills.
Speaking over the phone to The National Dr Simet said NCC Office Allocation Committee (OAC) began halting payments of rental bills and maintenance and renovations fees to the landlord (Dafong Trading) in June this year after years of failure by the landlord to run maintenance and renovation to the premises.
Dr Simet said since 1998 more than K2 million in maintenance and renovation fees had been paid by the Government on a K19,000 monthly basis to the landlord and OAC was wondering where all these monies had0 gone to.
“There has been a total neglect on the part of the landlord over the years to carry out its basic duty to ensure that the building is in safe working condition for the tenants.
The walls and doors are coming apart while the air conditioning is not working in mostof the offices,” Dr Simet said.
He added that visiting health officials declared the building a health hazard to its occupants and had issued recommendations to the landlord for maintenance and renovations.
Dr Simet said at a recent meeting the landlord proposed a 100% increase in the current lease which the OAC refused to accept given the appalling state of the premises.
He pointed out that NCC through the OAC would be looking at securing a new office space and OAC would be looking to seek reimbursements from the landlord in maintenance and renovation fees for non-rendering of maintenance services over the years.
Attempts to reach the landlord (Dafong Trading) yesterday for comments were unsuccessful.