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GOVT TACKLES CORRUPTION OVER HOUSES

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MBABANE – Government means business! The Ministry of Public Service is tired of being all talk and no action. This is summed up by the rigorous exercise it has initiated in dealing with corruption on the allocation of houses.


Christian Ntshangase, the Minister of Public Service, said: “In an effort to ascertain the authenticity of occupants, the ministry will embark on a survey to collect information on who occupies government houses and their employment numbers.”


The minister said this exercise was aimed at revealing the true occupants of government pool houses. Government has 969 pool houses and 559 leased or rented houses. He said the ministry’s main interest for now was the pool houses. These are houses built and owned by government. Ntshangase said the administration also has blocks of flats, which were known as institutional houses.


Exercise


The minister said the exercise was also a programme aimed at uprooting any corrupt act that may emanate from the occupants of the government houses. He said information doing rounds was that some houses were occupied by people who were not public servants.


These allegations are not far-fetched as the Auditor General’s report of the year ended March 31, 2017, reported that some irregularities included teachers occupying government houses without paying rent. This, he said, was against the scheme. He said: “We therefore need to get to the bottom of this. Further, in conjunction with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the exercise will also seek to obtain the value and condition of these houses.”
Ntshangase said seeking to establish the value of the houses was in line with the resolution taken by Cabinet on disposing some of its assets – which include the pool houses and parastatals.

 


From selling some of its assets,  government – through the Minsiter of Finance, Neal Rijkenberg, envisaged to accumulate about E400 million. The houses that were said to be retailed were those in urban areas.


Meanwhile, Ntshangase said his ministry was working hard to identify viable options which would not cost government. These options, he said, included using government resources that were available; but, if funds permitted, the ministry may employ the services of reputable property consultants.


Happy


“Once Cabinet is happy with the modalities of the programme, we may have to call for proposals from property consultants who can help us understand the costs of the envisaged survey.” He said they (Ministry of Public Service) were  currently assessing proposals from property consultants which would guide them in terms of what costs may be involved as well as the time frame.

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