"You will take this Complaint seriously and investigation will be carried out against Joshua Wycliffe. This is a situation where a foreigner has taken advantage of a statutory body and seems to be getting away. More so when he is now appointed as the PS for Ministry of Housing when it was a fact that he was still performing as CEO for HA on extended, second probationary period. Board had no confidence in his work and performance which was the reason he was asked to show improvement until a permanent job was given. Based on his mediocre and very unimpressive CV, it is clear he is lying as to his experience, caliber and professional, ethical standing to have attained the PS’s job given his long list of indiscretions as stated above in such a short time at HA. This needs to be stopped. For your further investigation." - Concerned Whistleblower to Minister Parveen Bala
Honorable Parveen Bala
Minister for Local Government, Housing & Environment
Level 3 Fiji FA House
Re: Complaint Against Joshua Wycliffe for Abuse of Office and Obtaining Financial Advantage
In light of the Attorney General’s public statement about FICAC investigating anomalies in a government organization, I hereby like to bring the following matter to your attention and for further investigation
I wish to lodge a complaint against the CEO of the Housing Authority, Mr Joshua Wycliffe. There are credible grounds that Joshua Wycliffe being employed in a public office is abusing his powers to gain financial advantage. As an Employer the Authority needs to investigate him for Abuse of Office and Obtaining Financial Advantage. There are also some of the officers of the Housing Authority that assisted him and they are his Personal secretary, Margaret Elisa, Maybor (Margaret Assistance), Acting General Manger Finance (Poasa Verevakabau). Joshua Wycliffe has abused the taxpayers money and the following are areas to be investigated:
Initial Recruitment Costing for new CEO
- Recruitment Cost – Payment to KPMG
- Interview cost – air fare and hotel
- Relocation cost – airfare. During the interview, Mr Joshua Wycliffe confirmed that his relocation will be from New Zealand and once confirmed of his position, he asked for his relocation to be from Africa which was paid by the Authority.
- Courier costs – Board approved a ceiling based on the quotation obtained
During course of employment Costing
- Nearly every weekend Joshua Wycliffe goes to New Zealand. In the beginning the tickets were paid through Housing Authority’s LPO without Board approval and then deducted from pay. This practice is against the policy of the Authority.
- First time in history of Housing Authority, the CEO has 2 Personal Assistants (Margaret and Maybor). Both takes turn to run for his personal matters. Basically the project officer Maybor is paid during official hours to pick and drop wife and kids and also drives the CEO and family to West as driver.
- In return of favours from CEO, Margaret uses CEO vehicle during weekend (especially when CEO is in West or NZ).
- CEO approved the overtime and meal claims for Margaret and Maybor when there is Board resolution that no overtime is to be paid. Further they were staying back for the work which could have been completed during office hours especially having 2 personal Assistants in his office.
- CEO family (wife and kids) stayed at the Anchorage Resort where the Management meeting was held paid by the Authority.
- Use of CEO Entertainment budget to pay the staff for dance competition during Diwali (allocation is for specific purpose and any virement of funds to be approved by the Board and in absence of Board to be approved by the Minister for Housing).
- Use of Approximately $14k for Christmas Party without approval of Board and in absence of Board without approval of the Minister. Further virement of funds for Christmas function without approval.
- Use of Company Credit – One is Amex Card of Westpac (please see Margaret Email) which is incurring cost as the Authority has a new Master Card from BSP.
- Use of Master Gold Card – for his personal expense in Hong Kong and Chennai india
- The Board Resolution was against selecting APS Global without proper tender process, however, Joshua Wycliffe managed to get his trip approved by Ministry of Public Enterprise. Joshua Wycliffe trip was approved on the basis that it was a fully sponsored trip by APS global, however the trip was paid by the Contractor APS global (which is a conflict of interest) then later major expenses borne by the Housing Authority. The wife also accompanied the CEO for the trip to India and paid by the Contractor and the Authority. In order to get approval he said that the costs will be borne by the APS Global but most of his/wife bill paid by the Authority.
- The closure of half day office on the 24th December without approval of the Minister. Abuse of taxpayers money – official closure of office with pay to all employees.
- Annual Leave accrual is a question since he has not yet completed one year of service.
- Use of Authority’s mobile by CEO wife (Samsung 5) and Authority’s wifi internet used by the CEO son at home to download games.
- Hotel costing at Nadi paid by the Authority, whilst CEO attended personal matters in Nadi (even during weekends) – check records of Hexagon, Novetal in Nadi.
- CEO commencing his job in March 2015 failed till to date to advertise and confirm the positions of General Manager Lending and General Manager Finance & Administration. He failed to follow the directive of Board Director, Mr Ashok Balgovind when he instructed the Acting positions to be advertised. This was also a breach of policy as the Authority continued to operate with acting General Managers for more 9 months. What is the reason for this?
I have faith and trust in the Authority and you as a Minister that you will take this Complaint seriously and investigation will be carried out against Joshua Wycliffe. This is a situation where a foreigner has taken advantage of a statutory body and seems to be getting away. More so when he is now appointed as the PS for Ministry of Housing when it was a fact that he was still performing as CEO for HA on extended, second probationary period. Board had no confidence in his work and performance which was the reason he was asked to show improvement until a permanent job was given. Based on his mediocre and very unimpressive CV, it is clear he is lying as to his experience, caliber and professional, ethical standing to have attained the PS’s job given his long list of indiscretions as stated above in such a short time at HA. This needs to be stopped.
For your further investigation.
PS for Ministry for Public Enterprise
The Deputy Commissioner – Fiji Independent commission Against Corruption
Commissioner for Police
Prime Ministers’ Office
Acting Board Chairman – Mr Umarji Musa
PROBATIONER TO PERMANENT SECRETARY: Wycliffe told Fiji Times his contract was for three years as CEO for Housing Authority but as Fijileaks reveals, he was on Probation. Surprisingly, on 8 January 2016 he was suddenly catapulted as Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Housing and Environment - under Parveen Bala!
Fijileaks: We will publish all the supporting documents and visa card records etc soon
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
TIMES: When did you start in this role and how long is your contract for?
WYCLIFFE: I took on the appointment in late March/April and it's for three years — normally executive contracts with Housing Authority are for three years.
TIMES: Can you share with us a bit more about yourself and your decision to take up the appointment in Fiji?
WYCLIFFE: I'm not from here. My parents are Indian but home is Wellington, New Zealand. I've lived in a few countries. I was born in India. When I was 7-8 years old, my parents moved to different countries so I've lived in the US, Europe and the Middle-East. Why Fiji? It's closer to home, closer to Wellington where one of the children studies. We wanted to be closer to home so I chose Fiji. It's a great place to be. I'm only beginning to understand the local version of Hindi. I speak the other Hindi though. Culturally, it's friendly. I'm enjoying the hospitality and warmth. Fiji is accommodative, more laid back, easy to work and fit in — there are some rigid places where people won't even smile at you when you check into the hotel — not the case in Fiji. I find Fiji great and look forward to the next three years.
In terms of my experience, I've got 25 years of social housing, social infrastructure and business experience. I've been able to work in a few countries. Globally it has given me a global exposure mostly in the Pacific, Asia and Africa. One of my roles was managing global operations that included Europe and parts of America as well so I come with a fairly good reasonable understanding of social housing. Social housing has been mostly in New Zealand and Australia — and infrastructure within Australia and southern Africa so a lot of work I see here is not new. It's global especially issues in social housing and infrastructure. I find that quite a challenge and at the same time I'm able to provide an insight and gain exposure and experience.
TIMES: As CEO, what are some of your goals for the year or the duration of your term going forward?
WYCLIFFE: One of my major interests going forward for Housing Authority is looking at three goals for the next 18 months. One would be relationship management with existing customer groups, primarily with focus on building strong relationships based on behavioural patterns over last several years with a view of working with households and sharing that, and to reduce bad debts and arrears.
We have quite a huge demand and housing is a big need and so when you have a huge demand and supply is unable to match then there's an issue there. That's another goal I've built myself into to ensuring that we have speed and efficiency in developing our lots and land and house packages. We will also be committed to two saving taxpayers' money and making sure a household is saved. We are not just about spending public money. We are about saving a tenancy, a household from falling into arrears and saving public money so arrears are not just written off just like that. It's about striking a fine balance between social obligation and business obligation. What we do is good stewardship of public money yet in a social way and the Government, through its various instruments, have approved through Parliament funds or grants which we are able to apply. We go through very narrow case by case basis, and at the same time we treat people with dignity and respect like how I treat my team.
TIMES: How are you planning to ensure those goals are met?
WYCLIFFE: How we do that is proactively build relationships internally in Fiji. Land doesn't crop up from nowhere it has to go through a preparation, real estate cycle in land development. A house doesn't get built from thin air so there's a lot of processes and requirements that go along with this process that includes cross agencies that we work with. The second goal is to have a measured approach on how many positive relationships help us increase speed and reduce time. If it's taking two months for paperwork, we aim to bring it down by half. The last goal is to reduce cost. A challenge around the world is that the cost of construction is always going. It's not unique to Fiji. The only way you do it is take a collaborative approach, and reduce costs through working collaboratively, finding new technology intelligence and new methodologies and building. People are my major assets and the aim will be to develop the team and focus them sharply on delivering goals, ensuring they go after these goals so the common man in Fiji gets a roof over his head.
TIMES: Will it be a costly exercise to engage with new technologies to meet the demand for housing?
WYCLIFFE: No, the reason we engage in new technologies is to bring down the cost. Normal convention technologies today are about building with concrete blocks. The very reason new technology is becoming popular is because the timeline it takes to build is much quicker. You can have a house built in six weeks really fast. These technologies have been designed to reduce time and cost, they are quite compliant to global standards in terms of cyclones, wind and all those things. They are doing very well in New Zealand and Australia and parts of US and Cuba.
Cuba is another market where we had similar wind speeds and similar cyclones that we get in Fiji so there are countries who have tested these tech and really improved and done well. I think the way to go forward is to make them compliant to Fiji standards and then have a couple of sample houses. This is something new that Fiji would see, but for people to familiarise themselves with that type of model technology would be really good.
TIMES: What is the authority's customer-base considering its progress and investment over the years?
WYCLIFFE: Our customer base is more than 27,000 and we have additional potential customer groups. We treat them more like people relationships than customers because customers sound commercial and we are not a bank. I remind everyone including stakeholder groups that we are not a bank and we cannot operate as a bank so we need to make sure what we do is right — stewardship for the people of Fiji.
TIMES: What can we expect from Housing Authority in the coming months?
WYCLIFFE: In the coming months we are looking at delivering on those three goals. We will also look at increasing the number of developments by at least another 25 per cent, reduce costs and increase speed and efficiency. I would hope that we will be able to house more number of people with quality, efficient housing.