64 CARE abuse cases in court

Permanent Secretary for Economy, Makereta Konrote responds to the Public Accounts Committee yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

SIXTY-FOUR cases relating to the alleged abuse of the CARE For Fiji – Help for Homes initiative post Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston are in court.

This was revealed by an internal audit team from the Ministry of Economy to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week.

The team also said 71 case files were submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Economy Ministry permanent secretary Makereta Konrote said through the ministry’s Internal Audit and Governance Division, reports relating to the Help for Homes initiative’s abuse were forwarded to the police force.

“As we stand, there have been cases that have been brought to prosecution and the internal audit team have been called to be witnesses or to provide evidence in court and so, some of the cases are still ongoing.”

Opposition Member of Parliament and PAC member Aseri Radrodro also asked the ministry team why an amnesty period was not given to those who provided false information to get the assistance under the Help for Homes initiative after TC Winston.

While clarifying, Ms Konrote said there weren’t a lot of complaints received during the Help for Homes initiative.

“During Help for Homes, we didn’t get a lot of complaints that people didn’t understand the criteria. “In this round of care assistance, there were a lot of complaints received as to what constituted damage so you will note in the dailies, the minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation did clarify what the criteria was to be eligible for assistance. “In the form, there was also reference to climatic events and this also covered goods damaged not only by flooding but also rainwater that entered homes. “Based on the clarifications that they may not have understood clearly the intention of assistance, they could return the cards.”