Illegal activities uncovered at government houses

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WINDHOEK – The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts has discovered that many government houses allocated to government employees, mostly police officers, nurses and teachers are either sublet or overcrowded or vandalised.

The five committee members, including its chairperson Usutuaije Maamberua, yesterday visited as many as 10 government quarters in the capital to determine their state. Many of the properties visited were either vandalised or sublet or overcrowded apart from the poor workmanship that was also blamed for the ailing state of the properties.

In one such building in Eros, it was discovered that more than 10 students share one room, which Maamberua described as unacceptable and abuse of human rights and something that seriously needs to be addressed. At the same venue, electrical wires were also found hanging loosely, posing a serious health hazard.

In another building in Ausspannplatz, more than five people were found to be squatting in a one-bedroomed flat.
The committee conducted inspections following a report by the office of the Auditor-General on government properties allocated to government employees, mostly teachers, nurses and soldiers.

During the inspection, it was discovered that occupants pay a maximum of N$500 per month for a one-bedroomed flat depending on the salary scale. It was also found that some of the government staff, who occupied the quarters illegally sell alcohol and cigarettes, while others even own properties within 20 km radius from the government houses. The law clearly prohibits government employees allotted to the quarters to own a house within a 20-kilometre radius.

Maamberua described the condition of government quarters as undesirable and dreadful, seriously needing to be addressed. “As of now, we are going to compile a report to be submitted to parliament,” he said.

Similar inspections were last year carried out in many other regions across the country.

A report by the Auditor-General on performance audit study on the utilisation of the government quarters for the financial years 2009, 2010 and 2011 concluded that the rules and regulations included in the lease agreement are not enforced or signed. It also concluded that maintenance on the properties is not done regularly to avoid cost on renovation.

It also concluded that the Ministry of Works and Transport has not approached the office of the Attorney-General to obtain legal power to evict illegal occupants.

The Auditor-General recommended the line ministry to draw up a lease agreement, which includes the rules and regulations to be signed by occupants before occupying government quarters. It also suggested the ministry hold regular meetings in order to update the records and better utilise and manage the administration of government accommodation.

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