Some families may spend Christmas in the cold as the National Housing Corporation (NHC) repossesses houses countrywide over outstanding arrears. NHC Managing Director Peter Njuguna says flats and houses of tenant purchasers with outstanding arrears will be reclaimed from Saturday, December 22. As the parastatal prepares to whip debtors to either pay up or ship out, prolonged legal tussles are expected, as defaulters would seek court injunctions to stop repossessions. The corporation has already placed advertisements in the mainstream media complete with names of the defaulters. Many of the affected homeowners were in the process of paying for the flats and houses in Lang’ata Phase one, Two and III as well as Jonathan Ng’eno Estate in Nairobi. Others are in Kabachia, Sabaki, Kisii, Kakamega, Nyayo Highrise, Kibera and Mamboleo in Kisumu County. NHC, whose mission is to play a leading role in efficient provision of adequate and affordable housing, issued notices to defaulters to pay up by December 22. “NHC shall rescind the tenant purchase agreements of the buyers and offer the houses to others on new terms,” Njuguna says. The managing director says the defaulters who owe the corporation millions of shillings should move out of the houses by December 30. “The defaulting tenants will also be apportioned the cost of advertisements spent to issue full-page notices in the mainstream media,” Njuguna says. Many of the 161 purchasers whose names were published in the media owe NHC arrears of between Sh40,000 and Sh1.2 million. The repossession is expected to be a painful exercise especially for those who have paid more than 50 per cent of the cost. The parastatal is cracking the whip after its former senior officials were sacked following allegations — in an official report — of fraud on allocation of repossessed houses. The damning report tittled Distortions in House Allocation: Report of House Allocation Process at the National Housing Corporation by the Board Audit Committee detailed how several houses that were earlier repossessed were predominantly allocated to NHC staff even without advertisement in the media as required. NHC Board Chairman Reginald Okumu and members Wilson Maina, Alice Mwololo and Said Mtwana prepared the report. Consequently, Housing minister Soita Shitanda sent home the then NHC Board chairman Ogeto Bosire and Managing Director James Ruitha over gross malpractises. Shitanda recently appointed Njuguna as managing director and Isaac Mogaka as chairman to replace Ruitha and Bosire. Other senior officials kicked out were financial manager Manasseh Wandabwa, administration and legal affairs manager Elizabeth Mbugua. Ogeto is alleged to have been allocated five housing units, Ruitha four while Mbugua was 21 housing units in various NHC projects countrywide. “The decision to sack the officers was made after an audit by the Efficiency Monitoring Unit,” Shitanda said after sending the officials home. He said the Inspectorate of State Corporations had indicted the officers for mishandling allocations of houses. “Appropriate action against the officers will be taken once the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission completes its investigation,” Shitanda said. Back to the move by the parastatal to throw out 161 tenant purchasers, legal tussles come to the fore. Conveyancers (property lawyers) concur that terms and conditions in agreements for sale signed between the corporation and the defaulting tenant purchasers rule.