March 16, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Chairman of Assets Commission has called on members of the Works, Housing and Infrastructure Committee in Parliament, in collaboration with the Ministry of Works, to review policies that will address the issuing of land and building permits to individuals.
Alhaji Unisa Alim ‘Awoko’ Sesay called for a moratorium of at least three months while the review process is underway within the ministry and the commission as there is a lot of outcry by the public against the issuance of building permits to certain individuals.
He stated that the Permanent Secretary of the Works Ministry should have a rethink as to how to issue permits as there is lack of collaboration with his commission in that respect.
He maintained that all houses confiscated by government have been withdrawn from his purview by the ministry despite the passage of a statutory instrument on the issue by his commission. He said the Works Ministry lacks proper supervision on how maintenance should be carried out at government properties.
Mr. Sesay said government quarters show little indication of uniformity as they are painted differently by each occupant, while no insurance cover is obtained to guard against fire accident.
Permanent Secretary of the Works Ministry, Donald Augustus Ngegba, conceded that government buildings should be supervised by the Assets Commission in accordance with the Act which established it. He said there ought to be good working relationship between the Minister of Works and Chairman of the Assets Commission, and disclosed that the ministry is working on privatising properties that belong to government.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ngegba informed the Committee that the ministry is yet to have its subvention disbursed by the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for the delay in the maintenance of government buildings. He said they have paid insurance cover for all their properties.
However, Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Kombo Kamara, noted that a lot of complaints have been made against the ministry by members of the public who are aggrieved that the latter has been negligent in carrying out their functions, including oversight visit to government quarters.
He said some public officials who should have been evicted from quarters are still occupying them, which act he said is disgraceful and criminal.
He threatened that the Committee will soon start to call names of tenants at villas and government quarters who have not paid their rents, stressing that no preferential treatment will be accorded to tenants, even those with political connection as monies they owe the state could be used to renovate the dilapidated buildings.