17 cases of people found to be allegedly abusing the Homes-CARE initiative have been referred to the Ministry of Economy’s Audit team.
This has been confirmed by the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Josefa Koroivueta.
The Ministry for Poverty Alleviation, Women and Children stresses that only Fijians whose homes were directly damaged or destroyed or whose possessions were lost or damaged by Tropical Cyclone Josie and Keni are eligible to receive assistance under Homes CARE.
The Ministry is making this clear to people as there have been reports that some people who were not affected by the cyclones are giving false information to get the assistance provided by the government.
The Ministry says under the False Information Act 2016, any false information given to Government for the purposes of receiving a benefit is an offence punishable by law, and may result in the requirement to repay the benefit, a fine of up to $20,000 or an imprisonment of up to 10 years or any of the foregoing.
It states that spot checks will be conducted by the Ministry of Economy audit teams to verify claims and ensure that information provided is truthful and accurate.
Concerned Fijians are also being urged to dial 2273 (C A R E) to anonymously report suspected abuse of this programme.
The Ministry also says that only one person in a household is eligible for assistance.
Koroivueta also says they have plans to deal with the large number of people turning up for the assistance.
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