You Will Get Caught
17 people under investigation for allegedly falsifying declarations in the Help For Homes initiative
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.
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.
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.