Sunvoice

Independent PRB Audit Needed To Address Concerns After Fall Of Two At Nabua

It is high time that an independent audit into the operations of the Public Rental Board is carried in the wake of the fall of a woman and a child
09 Nov 2016 13:45
Independent PRB Audit Needed To Address Concerns After Fall Of Two  At Nabua
Editorial

It is high time that an independent audit into the operations of the Public Rental Board is carried in the wake of the fall of a woman and a child from the second floor of a building in Mead Rd, Nabua, Suva.

While PRB acting general manager Patrick Veu has given his assurance that they are conducting their own investigations, it would be better if an independent inquiry is done and the report handed to the board of directors.

The unfortunate incident happened because the railing which was supposed to keep people safe from falling to the ground was old and weak.

It is apparent that the railing had not been properly  maintained. The question needs to be asked: How many other Public Rental Board buildings are in a similar state?

An urgent audit of the board’s operations must be done to ascertain the safety of its buildings.

In the meantime, tenants  should be warned to take necessary precautions to avoid a repeat of the unfortunate Nabua incident. This should not be the case but it’s a reality right now.

An outside audit team without any links or connection with the Public Rental Board staff will go in with a fresh perspective. It’s findings would invigorate the PRB and strengthen its organization.

The ball is in Minister for Housing Parveen Bala’s court to act.

The survey should include all PRB’s buildings used by people.

If the Nabua buildings were properly maintained, that incident would not have happened.

Now a woman and child are in Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva with injuries sustained from the fall. It is not known yet the full extent of the injuries and their long term impact on the lives of the pair. But what  we can say is that they must have suffered some form of trauma that will directly affect their lives.

One thing is certain. Their lives will never be the same again.

Someone needs to answer for that. If the audit discovers a failure or problem then those responsible should be held accountable.

In the review of the public service under the reforms rolled out by the Government,  two words feature prominently in the effort to improve efficiency in service delivery – accountability and transparency.

That should be applied across the board in all Government agencies and statutory organisations.

The PRB has been around for quite a while. No doubt it has gone through changes and there have been improvements. But the Nabua incident suggests that  someone or some people failed to fulfill their responsibilities. If this is proved then appropriate disciplinary action should be taken to act as a warning that there is no room for neglect or dereliction of duty where lives and health of people are at stake.

That’s the issue here.

In Raiwaqa, we saw that the old buildings had been demolished because they were found to be no longer fit for human habitation. Now, new modern buildings have been built as replacements.

As our population increases demand for housing will rise accordingly, putting pressure on housing development.

Before it looks at new housing projects, the PRB should review its existing buildings to ensure they are fully compliant with legal requirements that ensure safety for tenants.

The tenants in Nabua, apparently have raised the building maintenance concerns with PRB. They claim they were still waiting for a response when the incident happened.

All these concerns should be addressed in an independent audit.



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