24 July 2014

Tanzania: NHC Defends Embattled Director General

STATE-owned real estate developer, the National Housing Corporation (NHC), has refuted claims that its newly-appointed board of directors is entangled in a feud with Director General Nehemiah Mchechu.

There have been media reports over the past few days alleging that some politicians, including lawmakers are working behind the scenes to sway the new board to oust Mr Mchechu since he "has proved to be an obstacle to their shady dealings in the estate developer."

"These reports have caused confusion among members of the public but the truth is that the new board assumed power during the last two months and it has never met and discussed anything in regard to Mr Mchechu's tenure at NHC.

"The public should also understand that the current DG and the management team have valid contracts which are still intact," Acting NHC DG David Shambwe told journalists at a news conference in Dar es Salaam.

He went on to explain that Mr Mchechu has not been present during the launching of various NHC projects of late since he was on annual leave to which any civil servant is entitled.

The media reports have claimed the DG snubbed the occasions including those graced by President Jakaya Kikwete in Tanga Region recently as a result of the feud with the NHC board.

"Mr Mchechu was on annual leave from June 30 to July 18 this year. He left the country for official duties on July 21 and he will return on July 28, this year.

It is therefore unfounded to suggest that Mr Mchechi snubbed the events," Mr Shambwe explained. Described by his peers as an inspirational and transformational business leader, the youthful DG is currently leading the largest corporation in the East African region with a capital base of over US $1.2 billion dollars (about 1.92trl/).

Before joining NHC, Mr Mchechu worked as a banker in managerial positions at Standard Chartered Tanzania and Commercial Bank of Africa, in which he is credited for turning around the latter from loss to profit making when he was at the helm as managing director.

In March 2010, he was appointed director general of NHC in a four-year renewable contract where he pledged to put in the market 15,000 housing units by the year 2015. During a short period, he managed to collect outstanding debts amounting to billions of shillings and initiated new housing projects, including affordable housing units across the country.

Sub-letting on NHC units by some unscrupulous tenants that was rampant before Mchechu assumed his position has now been curbed, and thus the corporation is now earning deserved revenues from its units, particularly those in upscale areas.

The new NHC board is chaired by Ms Zakhia Meghji, a veteran politician that has served in various capacities within the government.

She was at one time the Minister of Finance and also served in the same capacity in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. Ms Meghji took over from Eng. Kesogukewele Msita who chaired the board for the past three years.


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