Saturday, May 30, 2020

GCC officers implicated in illegal allocation of SHAA plots

Some residents in Gaborone are likely to lose their residential plots or alternatively face corruption charges over the Self Help Housing Agency (SHAA) plots now said to have been acquired illegally.

About two hundred plots, including one belonging to a Member of Parliament, are said to be at the centre of contention.

The owners are said to have acquired the plots from corrupt Gaborone City Council (GCC) housing officers through an “arranged bribe” amounting to between P15 000 in P20 000.

Investigations conducted by The Telegraph reveal that GCC is about to complete the compilation exercise reflecting a list of individuals who might have acquired SHAA plots fraudulently.

The document will then be handed over to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) for investigations.

The Telegraph’s investigations reveal that some GCC officers were given money to back date application dates so as for the applicants to qualify for the allocation of stands, which would otherwise have taken a longer time.

After receiving the money, the officers would then alter not only the application date but also the dates of birth of the applicant.

It is further revealed that the alleged offenders were discovered when those implicated wanted to collect the title deeds of the plots, which reflected that at the time when they applied for such plots, according to what appears on the application, they would have been eight or twelve years old, an age at which, by law, they did not qualify to apply for the plots.

Furthermore, the investigations revealed that most of the plots that are affected are in Block 8 and 9 and a few in Block 3.

Meanwhile, some council employees who opted for anonymity for fear of victimization said that there is a lot of indiscipline and lack of adherence to set standards and procedures in the city council, especially regarding allocation of SHAA plots but “we are happy that GCC is taking up the matter and very seriously”.

They said they wonder why those implicated officers who solicited for bribes from the applicants are not dismissed from duty because they had dragged the name of GCC into the mud.

However, SHAA is currently allocating plots for applications received in 1986. No new applications for Gaborone have been received since 2004 due to unavailability of land.

Surprisingly, there are allegations that some individuals who applied after the year 1986 have been allocated plots.

The Public Relations Officer of GCC, Seeletso Lekgaba, was not available for comment.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.