The National, Friday 15th February, 2013
By WANPIS AKO
THE National Housing Corporation has finally sold its controversial North Waigani Hostel to real estate company, DAC Real Estate, by writing off almost K1.5 million in arrears owed by tenants.
“We have earned proceeds of K11.1 million from the transaction and that money will be used for investing further in the housing sector to make available affordable houses for our people, Housing Minister Paul Isikiel revealed yesterday.
“The initial cost of the money to erect the hostel in 1997 was K7 million so we made about K4.1 million profit,” NHC managing director John Dege added.
He said they would use the proceeds to build 35 new houses – some at Tokarara and others at Gerehu Stage 3B.
Dege said the justifications for the sale were to recover the arrears and to relieve the burden of monthly K200,000 utility bills incurred on NHC, despite non-collection of rentals from the tenants since 2008.
The National yesterday witnessed the NHC raising a K11,000 cheque for outstanding water bills to Eda Ranu incurred on the property by the tenants.
Dege maintained that they had been illegally occupying the property, saying when an eviction notice was given to them, 38 tenants complied with the notice while 64 remained. The latter accommodated their ‘wantoks’ to fill the vacated flats and took a court order to restrain NHC from evicting them in 2010.
However, the tenants are claiming that NHC management and board had stopped them from paying their rentals fortnightly since.
Dege claimed that the court order obtained by the tenants was lifted by the National Court last year and the court ruled at a substantive hearing that mediation be followed between them.
He said the sale was tendered and the real estate company became the successful bidder. The sale was unanimously agreed to by the management and the board.