NEWS

Former Squatters Cry Foul

Residents have welcomed the Government’s move to take over operations of the state housing project.
01 Jun 2019 12:42
Former Squatters Cry Foul
Lagilagi Housing on May 30,2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua.

Former squatters who are now residents of the Lagilagi Housing Project in Raiwaqa claim people ineligible for housing assistance were occupying flats.

They also highlighted the lack of contractual agreements.

Residents have welcomed the Government’s move to take over operations of the state housing project.

The Lagilagi Housing Project is a joint initiative between the Government and the People’s Communities Network.

The Government provided the State land and $12.7million. PCN managed the operational functions, including identifying eligible residents, issuing of strata contracts, collecting payments and construction.

Minister for Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar said the ministry would take over the housing project, including operational control, from PCN.

She said after an investigation into 370 complaints by residents, the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission found people who were ineligible were occupying flats.

Lalita Devi, 47, said she was one of the first ones to occupy the flats.

She said she paid $40 a week for 12 years.

“I made a complaint to FCCC when a PCN employee came with a letter and told me that the flat would cost me an extra $20,000 on top of the original $40,000. I was told that the market price had gone up.”

After a fire destroyed homes in the Muslim League Estate in Nabua in 2017, five families were relocated to a block in the Lagilagi Housing Project. Simione Navora is one of them.

“I pay $40 a week as well. I am happy Government has decided to step in. This would mean better management of the operations,” he said.

PCN director Samuela Saumatua said they were waiting for Government to move in and take control of the Lagilagi project.

Responding to the allegations of abuse and mismanagement, Mr Saumatua said they would not comment on those because Police was investigating the matter.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj



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