Two lecturers from same varsity picked for top NHC jobs

31Oct 2018
By Financial Times Reporter
DAR ES SALAAM
Financial Times
Two lecturers from same varsity picked for top NHC jobs

TWO professional colleagues who served as heads of department at the same university have now landed big jobs at the National Housing Corporation (NHC), where one will serve as board chair and the other as chief executive officer (CEO) of the state-run firm.

President John Magufuli.

According to a statement issued by State House yesterday, President John Magufuli has appointed Dr Sophia Kongela, the acting head of the department of land management and valuation at the Ardhi University (ARU) as the chairperson of the board of directors at NHC.

Subsequently, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, William Lukuvi, appointed Kongela's colleague at the Dar es Salaam-based ARU, Dr Maulid Banyani, as the director general of NHC.

Before his appointment, Banyani served at ARU as the acting head of the varsity's department of business studies.

This means that as board chairperson of NHC, Dr Kongela's duties will be to supervise the work of the management of the parastatal now under the leadership of her former fellow ARU head of department Dr Banyani.

ARU was previously known as the University College of Lands and Architectural Studies (UCLAS).

The appointments, which take immediate effect, come after the government's decision to sack the erstwhile NHC boss, Nehemiah Mchechu, and the board chairperson, BlandinaNyoni.

Mchechu was suspended in December last year to pave way for an investigation into allegations of financial impropriety at the NHC.

In June this year, Lukuvi announced that Mchechu has officially been sacked from his post, a move which followed Magufuli's decision to sack Nyoni as board chair in March and dissolve the board.

The CEO of NHC is appointed by the minister responsible for lands, while the board chair is a presidential appointee.

Despite his dismissal from NHC, Mchechu, a former banker, is credited with turning around the once financially-crippled NHC by introducing wide-ranging institutional reforms.

He oversaw massive real estate investments by the state-run corporation, including the construction of housing estates across Tanzania and multi-billion shilling apartments and office blocks in Dar es Salaam.

But NHC was dogged with allegations of embezzlement of funds and corruption in the execution of its projects, prompting Magufuli to publicly speak out against the accusations in December last year.

Insiders say senior officials of the NHC were alleged to have abused public office and breached conflict of interest rules in the acquisition of land at inflated costs by the parastatal to implement some of its real estate development projects.