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Ministry to contact acquitted villagers

Repeka Nasiko
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

MINISTER for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa will get in touch with a group of people whose hardware items under the Help for Homes initiative were seized in 2016.

Mrs Vuniwaqa was responding to queries from this newspaper about the acquittal of 22 people who were charged with giving false information to obtain the hardware materials.

She said they would approach one of the acquitted — Matawalu Village headman Josaia Rakoto.

"We will follow up on this and ensure that those who have been acquitted do get their entitlement — provided that the court process has been exhausted and that there's no appeal on foot," she said.

"My team will be in touch with Mr Rakoto to get the relevant names."

Meanwhile, Mr Rakoto said they were still waiting for word from the ministry.

He said even though people had put the court case behind them, they still had to work on upgrading their homes.

"It costs a lot of money for us to try and rebuild our homes to what it used to be," he said.

"Some of us want to build better homes so that it doesn't get blown away like it did during (Tropical Cyclone) Winston."

Mr Rakoto was charged with one count of giving false information alongside villagers from Matawalu and those from neighbouring villages in Lautoka.

The group were acquitted in December last year.

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