NATION

Two Staff Allegedly Involved In Housing Scam

Minister for Housing Premila Kumar said two staff members from the ministry were believed to be part of this latest scam involving land.
18 Sep 2020 07:12
Two Staff Allegedly Involved In Housing Scam
Premila Kumar.

Fake letters from the Ministry of Housing and Community Development enabled people to construct homes in the River Road informal settlement in Narere and the Millennium informal settlement in Nausori.

Minister for Housing Premila Kumar said two staff members from the ministry were believed to be part of this latest scam involving land.

The two have not reported to work. The matter has been reported to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Eight cases from Millennium and three from River Road were referred to FICAC.

“The incident started unfolding when the ministry first noticed that a letter was issued under a fake letter head of the ministry to a person in Bangladesh, Labasa, giving him the consent to apply for a temporary water connection,” she said.

“During an inspection carried out by the ministry at Millennium Informal settlements, just a day later, another three fake letters were found – this time authorising people to construct dwellings within the settlement.”

Two families in River Road said that they had paid cash for their lot.

Ms Kumar said former staff member of the ministry may also be part of this scam. She said names were shared with FICAC.

“We invite the public to come forward and report if you or anyone whom you know has received similar letters,” she said.

“At the same time, it is also important for the public to be careful of such scams – if any Government institution is selling land, it will be formally advertised and the general Government procedure will be followed and will not be done through junior staff in the institutions.

“You will also receive a formal receipt issued by the Government of Fiji for any payment you make to a ministry.”

Ms Kumar confirmed there were no land lots for sale or lease in the development lease areas controlled by the ministry.

She said allocation of lots only happened after the completion of upgrade projects and in line with the lot allocation policies.

The Ministry is urging members of the public not to give money to any individual without checking with the organisation first and to always demand for a receipt after making any payment.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj


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