Tanzania NHC Under Probe for Fraud and $4.2m Debt

Cash-strapped Tanzania's state-owned National Housing Corporation (NHC) is being investigated for dubious sale of units and what the government terms backyard renting to individuals.

The Lands ministry, under which NHC falls, has asked the police to find out how the state company accumulated over Tsh8.2 billion ($4.2 million) in unpaid rent by end of 2019.

NHC board chairperson Sophia Kongole said the agency is facing financial troubles because many tenants are not paying rent on time, if at all, leading to stalling of projects.

Currently, the corporation is undertaking housing projects worth about $400 million under its ongoing investment programme, two of which according to the latest report from the chief government auditor, pose a financial risk to NHC.

The two projects worth Tsh473 billion ($185 million), were to be implemented in three years, with completion set for the end of 2019.

Minister for Lands, William Lukuvi, has submitted a list of NHC houses suspected to have been sold off illegally, to the Director of Criminal Investigations. The minister said two of the houses on the list were sold to individuals, one a foreigner, without ministerial consent.

According to the minister, a behind-the-scene syndicate known to the NHC management, has been renting out NHC houses to unsuspecting tenants, mostly foreigners working in Tanzania, at exorbitant rents of up to Tsh20 million ($9,000) annually.

Established in 1972, NHC owns nearly 20,000 housing and commercial rental units in almost all major urban areas of Tanzania.

Meanwhile, President John Magufuli on Thursday sacked the Minister for Home Affairs Kangi Lugola, saying the ministry was leading in undertaking fraudulent projects.

Magufuli also sacked the Commissioner General of the Tanzania Fire and Rescue Force Thobias Andengenye, for overseeing a dubious project worth some $452 million.

He announced the sacking of the two senior public officials shortly after he had inaugurated a housing project for prisons officers in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

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