LAGILAGI HOUSING PROJECT INQUIRY CONCLUDED
The Lagilagi Housing Project Inquiry has concluded and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has received the report on the public inquiry from the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC).
In 2014, the Fijian Government had given the Peoples Community Network (PCN) $12.7 million for the Lagilagi Housing Project, but work was not delivered as promised.
The FCCC was given the responsibility to undertake the public inquiry pursuant to Section 48 of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010 (FCCC Act 2010) whereby FCCC may hold inquiries as it considers necessary or desirable for the discharge of its functions under the FCCC Act 2010.
The report entails anomalies pertaining to governance, risk management and financial issues. Issues such as improper record keeping of finances, making unauthorised alterations to receipts, suspicious transactions in PCN staff personal accounts, anomalies in processes for issuing offer letters and housing units and unaudited financial statements. The investigation has also revealed that PCN staff members were given loan sum from PCN trading accounts and this has not accounted for.
Another key finding of the report is that a number of people who have paid substantial amount of money to PCN for a housing unit, are actually ineligible for it. A number of people have been found to not fit the legibility criteria, however, they have made payments for a unit.
After going through the findings of the report, the Ministry has decided the following course of action(s):
- That the Lagilagi Housing Project will no longer be operated by PCN. Instead, the Government shall take over the affairs of the Project henceforth;
- That the Government shall actively pursue means of housing eligible residents who were promised a unit but never received any;
- That FCCC actively pursue Court proceedings to have the ineligible residents evicted;
- That the FCCC shall pursue filing charges against the Director(s) and Board Members of PCN for the unethical practices found, which are in breach of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010 (FCCC Act 2010).
The Ministry has strongly reiterated that it will not condone such irresponsible behavior of abusing Government funds and those responsible shall be taken to task. At the same time, the Ministry will ensure that those who well deserve Government assistance, are provided the same.