You Will Get Caught

17 peo­ple un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for al­legedly fal­si­fy­ing declarations in the Help For Homes ini­tia­tive

Fiji Sun - - Sport: Business: - JY­OTI PRAT­I­BHA and ARIETA VAKASUKAWAQA

The two, Sa­heem Ali and Ere­mase Bulive­cena, have been charged with one count each of mak­ing a false rep­re­sen­ta­tion in order to ob­tain a ben­e­fit con­trary to sec­tion 4 (1) of the False In­for­ma­tion Act 2016. The two al­legedly pro­vided false in­for­ma­tion to a Govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tive and ob­tained a Voda­fone M-Paisa Card for the Help for Homes Govern­ment ini­tia­tive for those af­fected by Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston. Source: ODPP. Photos: Kathrin Kr­ishna

The Min­istry of Fi­nance’s au­dit team has ze­roed in on 36 peo­ple who may have fal­si­fied their declarations when ap­ply­ing for as­sis­tance in the Govern­ment’s Help for Homes ini­tia­tive.

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing 17 peo­ple and two have been charged for al­legedly breach­ing the False In­for­ma­tion Act of 2016. (Read de­tails on page 10) Govern­ment had put in place pro­ce­dures through which peo­ple could lodge com­plaints if they sus­pected oth­ers of mak­ing false dec­la­ra­tion. At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Fi­nance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum held a joint press con­fer­ence with Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Bri­gadierGen­eral Si­tiveni Qil­iho on the is-

The author­i­ties ac­tu­ally go out and ver­ify that and put in place an as­sess­ment re­port. So it’s not worth it to make a false dec­la­ra­tion.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Fi­nance

sue yes­ter­day. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “The Min­istry of Fi­nance has as­sessed about 36 cases or in­ci­dences where some ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties were iden­ti­fied and those cases have been, in fact, for­warded to the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and they are car­ry­ing out in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Qil­iho said they had 17 files open from the 36 re­ported cases.

“The first two of those cases will be pro­duced at the Ba Court at 1700 hrs this af­ter­noon (yes­ter­day) and the re­main­der of the 17 will be pro­cessed and ap­pear be­fore the courts by Wed­nes­day next week, while we con­tinue ver­i­fi­ca­tions on the re­main­der from the 36 cases and we will see how we progress from there,” he said. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said those mak­ing false dec­la­ra­tion and get­ting MPaisa cards to re­deem build­ing ma­te­ri­als were de­priv­ing other de­serv­ing Fi­jians who needed the as­sis­tance to re­build their homes af­ter the dev­as­ta­tion caused by Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston. “We would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to once again highlight to in­di­vid­ual mem­bers of the pub­lic to please en­sure that you fill out the dec­la­ra­tion hon­estly and truth­fully. At the end of the day you will get caught and there are a num­ber of peo­ple within the com­mu­ni­ties, within vil­lages, within set­tle­ments who are com­ing up to us and telling us about peo­ple within their own com­mu­ni­ties who have made false declarations.

“The author­i­ties ac­tu­ally go out and ver­ify that and put in place an as­sess­ment re­port. So it’s not worth it to make a false dec­la­ra­tion.

“It is also not a morally and eth­i­cally right thing to do. If you are go­ing to get ac­cess to fund­ing for some­thing that you don’t de­serve, you in turn will be de­priv­ing or­di­nary peo­ple who ac­tu­ally de­serve to ac­cess those funds,” Mr SayedKhaiyum said.

Thousands as­sisted

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum re­vealed that more than $70mil­lion had been ex­pended in as­sist­ing thousands of Fi­jians af­fected by Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston through the Help for Homes ini­tia­tive. He thanked the Min­istry of Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion for their ef­forts to reach out to Fi­jians need­ing to re­build their homes.

Ere­masi Ve­cena out­side Ba Mag­is­trates Court yes­ter­day.

Sa­heem Ali (left) and a fam­ily mem­ber out­side Ba Mag­is­trates Court yes­ter­day.

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