NEWS

Lagilagi Housing:No Refund, Moceica Family Waits in Vain for Home

“I clearly remember the day when Prime Minister (Josaia Voreqe) Bainimarama came to Jittu Estate. It was more than 10 years ago. He was the first Prime Minister to do so,” Mr Moceica said. “The Government announced the Lagilagi Project. We were told by government officials that we needed to relocate and we would get flats. We were told that the People’s Communities Network would handle everything.
07 Jun 2019 13:07
Lagilagi Housing:No Refund, Moceica Family Waits in Vain for Home
From left: Kaveni Seru, Manasa Railati, Senivalati Vunibola with their father Navitalai Moceica, inside their family home at Jittu Estate, Suva, on June 6, 2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Navitilai Moceica lives in a shack across the road from the fine houses at Lagilagi Housing in Raiwaqa, Suva.

He is one of those who were asked to relocate their homes to make way for the Lagilagi Project. He was told he would get a flat in the new housing project.

He now stares hopelessly at the Lagilagi houses from across the road, looking at what was once promised to him.

A complaint about how he was treated has been made to the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Mr Moceica, his wife, Arieta, and five children live in a house encroaching the footpath.

When it rains, the family huddles in a spot where there are no leaks.

“I clearly remember the day when Prime Minister (Josaia Voreqe) Bainimarama came to Jittu Estate. It was more than 10 years ago. He was the first Prime Minister to do so,” Mr Moceica said.

“The Government announced the Lagilagi Project. We were told by government officials that we needed to relocate and we would get flats. We were told that the People’s Communities Network would handle everything.

“We were told to pay $1 a week. I paid it for three years to the PCN.”

Mrs Moceica said after the house were built no one came. She said three years ago PCN staff came to their house.

“We were told to pay $500 upfront and get ready to move into the house at Lagilagi. We were happy. We bought rugs. My husband went and put household appliances on lay by,” she said.

“Then a week later, PCN staff told us that we will not move because we had too many children. There was no refund. The same thing happened to my sister-in-law.”

Houses at Jittu Estate, on June 6, 2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Houses at Jittu Estate, on June 6, 2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Mrs Moceica also raised concerns that because of the relocation, houses were so cramped that there was no space to build septic tanks.

FCCC is now investigating all complaints made to it in respect of Lagilagi Housing.

In its inquiry report the commission found that people ineligible for housing assistance were living in houses at the Lagilagi project.

The project was initiated to provide better housing for residents of the Jittu Estate informal settlement.

However, the houses have been occupied by people who can afford housing elsewhere and people from other informal settlements outside of Jittu Estate.

FCCC chief executive Joel Abraham said FCCC would not be evict people from other informal settlements who are at Lagilagi, but would look at those people who can afford homes.

Currently people are paying $40 a week for 12 years to get strata titles.

The FCCC inquiry also highlighted alleged mismanagement of funds. It is claimed that some PCN staff allegedly had money deposited into their bank accounts.

Minister for Housing Premila Kumar announced last week that the Government would take over operational control of the Lagilagi Housing project.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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