NATION

FICAC To Probe 10 Home Owners For Allegations Of Giving False Information

Preliminary investigations by Housing Authority of Fiji have identified 10 homeowners alleged to have falsified information for procurement of housing lots. The names will be referred to the Fiji Independent
16 Jul 2020 11:31
FICAC To Probe 10 Home Owners For Allegations Of Giving False Information

Preliminary investigations by Housing Authority of Fiji have identified 10 homeowners alleged to have falsified information for procurement of housing lots.

The names will be referred to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption for legal action.

It comes as the Ministry of Housing and Community Development begins to clean up years of alleged corrupt practices both within the authority and its beneficiaries.

In what is seen as a breakthrough in the culture, the Minister Premila Kumar said while systematic corruption at the organisation was being targeted, the other side of the coin had applicants who were allegedly falsifying information to get allotments.

It is understood that those included in the initial 10 are well-known people.

Ms Kumar said no one with a collective household income of $50,000 was entitled to a Housing Authority lot and yet people earning more than that had been able to get the lots.

She said the subdivisions in Tacirua, which were given in 2015 and the Wainibuku lots given in 2017 had presented this anomaly.

Now the Housing Authority has engaged the Office of the Auditor General to carry out a Special Purpose Audit on lot allocation for the past 10 years, and report its findings to the Board of Directors.

This could lead to more people facing legal ramifications should they have falsified information.

Office of the Auditor General services

Board chairperson Lorraine Seeto said due to numerous complaints with regards to allocation of lots, it was crucial that they engaged the Office of the Auditor General.

Furthermore this process will see Housing Authority engage in public submissions in the Central, Northern and Western Divisions.

“This is to allow and encourage members of the public, who have issues and concerns, to participate and share with us their experiences in dealing with HA and share with us any other information that they might have,” Ms Seeto said.

“It can be on selection of applicants and approval process for lot allotment, behavior of HA staff in dealing with customers i.e. customer relations and customers who already owned a lot and were again allocated a lot by Housing Authority.

Housing Authority of Fiji Board chairperson Lorraine Seeto during a press conference on July 15, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Housing Authority of Fiji Board chairperson Lorraine Seeto during a press conference on July 15, 2020.
Photo: Ronald Kumar

“The audit will pay special attention to the approval policies, criteria for qualification of lots, methodology for selection of successful applicants and approval process for lot allotment, as there were different lot allotment policies at the authority from time to time.”

The audit will focus on verification of information and declarations provided by all recipients, review and confirm that lots allocated to applicants having an annual household income exceeding $50,000 and review of any lots allotted to current or ex Housing Authority staff and their families.

With the Special Purpose Audit and Public Inquiry, the authority will:

  • Take further action on the findings and at same time,
  • Improve its internal processes and operations, to ensure that they are transparent, effective and efficient.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper