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COVID-19

Package to curb abuse of government assistance

October 2, 2021 6:28 am
Attorney-Genera,l Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. [Source: Fijian Government]

A reform package enacted in parliament last month aims to curb the abuse of government assistance.

This is to also protect against identity theft, ID hopping, and voter fraud.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says this also ensures the voter list has integrity and credibility.

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The amendments include the Electoral Registration of Voters Act, the Interpretation (Amendment) Act 2021, and the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration (Amendment) Act 2021.

It establishes a fast, easy and free process for Fijians to register their preferred name on their birth certificate.

That official name will then be used by the individual to register on the voter list and obtain government programs and assistance.

Sayed-Khaiyum led a stakeholder coordination session on Wednesday to operationalize the reform package. He says Fiji has never had a national database of accurate information that can verify the identity of our citizens.

He says there are individuals with different names on their passport, driver’s license, and on their FNPF/FRCS joint card and voter cards.

The AG adds potential for abuse is staggering, it breeds identity theft, commercial fraud, false and deceptive financial advantages, and even voter fraud.

During Government’s response to the COVID -19 pandemic, which involved the largest cash transfer from the government to people, he says they recorded an instance where one individual registered to receive unemployment benefits eight separate times in the same round.

He states that every Fijian suffers from a system where people can so easily operate with multiple identities and abuse government assistance.
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