20 April 2011, The Daily Times
The Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) has lost K105 million by selling houses to members of staff, ministers and individuals at highly discounted prices which were in most cases less than half of the market values.
Investigations by The Daily Times so far show that 22 houses were involved in the scam and are spread across suburbs in Blantyre.
MHC general manager Golden Matiya confirmed that the corporation had sold 22 houses, but said the houses had been discounted following an outcry that the prices that MHC wanted to charge were too high.
“The houses were valued by Malawi Housing Corporation, then there was an outcry that it was on the higher side therefore we engaged the owners of the houses (government) to value the houses. We sold the houses using the valuation that was done by a government valuer,” Matiya said.
The corporation would have realised more than K184 million if the houses were sold based on the valuation by MHC, according to sourced information. Instead the corporation got less than K79.2million.
Some of the beneficiaries are Regional Governor (South) for ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Noel Masangwi, Education Minister Peter Mutharika, Housing Minister John Bande, Attorney General Jane Ansah, Mr. Matiya himself, and a Mrs. Mondiwa.
Other members of staff are the Regional Housing Manager for the South a Mrs. Nsapato, MHC spokesperson Ernestina Yobe a Mr. Sikwa and a Mr. Chirwa.
Mount Pleasant Church got the biggest discount. It was sold a house in Sunnyside valued by MHC at K10.5 million for only K2.7 million.
The K105 million that the MHC lost could have built at least 65 houses in the high density township, or 20 medium density houses in Ndirande New Lines.
Asked why MHC had abandoned its own evaluation to use the government one, Matiya who said this was the first time he had sold houses since he joined the corporation in 2008, said there was no policy on whose valuation- MHC or government- should be used.
Sources said the previous management used independent valuators to come up with an independent assessment.