The Works and Housing Minister says cronies and girlfriends of some public officials are occupying state bungalows without paying rent. Samuel Atta-Akyea says there is an ongoing audit of such properties and those who fail to justify paying their rent will be kicked out in three months.
According to him, the rent will enable government put up other houses for others to benefit from. “We cannot have a situation where you will take the government for granted so we will certainly evict them,” he stated.
He added that some officials are “even proud to say this is my nephew, let him leave there for free” when the person does not work with for example the Health Ministry.
“Meanwhile doctors and nurses are marking time looking for accommodation. The audit will bring all these to bear and those there will be surcharged, he said.
His comments follow the response of Director of Public Works Department (PWD) to a question when he appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Thursday.
He said over ¢94,650 debt owed the state by tenants occupying PWD houses have been recovered, assuring the committee that outstanding defaulters have pledged "that they will quickly come and settle.”
The Works and Housing Minister bemoaned how people treat government property shabbily without noting that they are part of government.
“I don’t see how any landlord will permit tenants to reside in their property without paying the requisite rent," he said adding the enforcement of the laws has largely been the problem.
Urging people to respect government business, he said it is not asking for too much to demand that people pay the requisite rent if they want to live in government houses.
Mr Atta-Akyea explained that the Ministry an ultimatum because the law stipulates that people should be given 90 days to get a new place and also because the Ministry is adding a human face to the evictions.