Financial status of those pretending to be squatter dwellers exposed
February 20, 2019 7:21 am
The lavish financial status and properties of those pretending to be squatter dwellers will soon be investigated by the Housing Ministry.
This as residents from various squatter settlements in Suva exposed the types of money-making tactics people with good incomes are carrying out within their areas.
FBC News can reveal that those who are well employed own houses in some squatter settlements including teachers and university lecturers.
The Minister responsible Premila Kumar says they’ve identified several cases where people residing in squatter settlements are not genuine.
A resident who lives in one of Suva’s most populated squatter settlements says the public can easily identify those who are earning well.
“There are many people living here who earn a decent salary or have their own business outside of this settlement. They have good residential properties on rent in places within the Suva and Nausori corridor. Some of them are actually teachers or lectures at universities. It’s unfair when we receive assistance from the government and they’re also included. You can tell us apart from afar. They have sky pacific dishes, cars, good homes, go overseas often and even run canteens from home.”
Another resident says that several business owners rent out homes illegally within the settlement.
“There’s this house in front of us that’s on rent. It has five bedrooms and has almost eight families living there. Rent is about $150 – $180. At the end of every month – the owner who lives in Lami comes and collects the rent. Most of them who put their houses on rent here didn’t even pay anything to get the land. They just came marked the land and started building.”
Housing Minister, Premila Kumar says taxpayers’ money should not go towards supporting those who are well off.
“What we going to do at the ministry of housing. We will screen each and every applicant. It doesn’t mean that you leave there – it’s guaranteed you’ll get a piece of land. We will be checking the financial position of that person. We will also have other mechanisms such as whistle-blower policy if people come forward and tell us the details of whose occupying and whether they have properties outside or not. Then we will give them some rewards.”
The Minister says she wants only genuine people who can’t afford a home to be assisted by the government – not those who are financially stable and can look after themselves well.