ABOUT 22 per cent of those who have benefited from Government's "Help for Home" initiative were found to have given false information in order to receive assistance to rebuild homes damaged by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.
This was revealed by Ministry of Finance's Luke Koroisave, who said they had referred some cases to the police following the investigation carried out by their audit teams.
He said some were found to have received two to three prepaid electronic cards — meaning they received more than one payment.
Mr Koroisave said some had also deliberately changed their address from living in settlements to living in the village in order to qualify for the $7000 payout.
Those living in settlements, whether squatters, vakavanua settlement or in areas outside the village boundaries were to receive $1500 as per the guideline set out by Government.
He said they had also received a report from Vodafone Fiji, which was responsible for the electronic cards, indicating that some were in possession of two cards. According to Mr Koroisave, they were able to find out after advisory councillors in the village, who were representatives of Government, revealed that some of the listed recipients' houses were not damaged by the cyclone.
Some names were also not on the list and those, he said, would be revisited by the military engineers to have their houses assessed again.
Mr Koroisave said some people had left their villages to live on farm houses and requested for assistance to both houses.
He said people should be reminded that they could not escape the law and the law would definitely reach out to them whether this year, next year or right in 2020 because Government would send out a team to assess how the money was spent. Owners of houses with partly damaged roofs received $1500 and if the roof was completely blown away, $3000 would be paid.
The $7000 payout was for houses of which the walls and roofs were damaged and those completely destroyed.
Mr Koroisave made the comments during a talkback show on one of the radio stations on Wednesday. Source: Fiji Times