SPECIAL PURPOSE AUDIT AND PUBLIC INQUIRY
Wednesday 15 July 2020 – The Housing Authority of Fiji has engaged the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) to carry out a Special Purpose Audit on lot allocation for the past ten (10) years, and report its findings to the Board of Directors.
The Housing Authority of Fiji Board Chairperson Ms. Lorraine Seeto said that due to numerous complaints received by the Ministry of Housing and Community Development and the Housing Authority of Fiji with regards to allocation of lots, it was crucial that they engage the Office of the Auditor General.
“Yes it is important that we engage the Office of the Auditor General to carry out this special purpose audit on the lot allocation, not only because of the many complaints received, but to also uphold good governance and transparency in the organisation,” said Ms. Seeto.
She added that the audit will pay special attention on the approval policies, criteria for qualification of lots, methodology for selection of successful applicants and approval process for lot allotment, as there were different lot allotment policies at the Authority from time to time.
Some of the criteria that the audit will focus on are:
Verification of information and declarations provided by all recipients of lots during the Period with their applications against Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS), Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF), Titles Office;
Review and confirm that lots allocated to applicants having an annual household income exceeding Fifty Thousand Fijian Dollars (F$50,000.00) were duly endorsed by the Board and approved by the Minister, where applicable, in line with the Housing Act of 1955;
Review of any lots allotted to current or ex Housing Authority Staff, their families during the Period and to review such transactions to assess the transparency and appropriate declaration of conflicting interests by the relevant staff including the Board.
“We are expecting the report to be completed by the OAG within two months and we will also be conducting public inquiries. This is to allow and encourage members of the public who have issues and concerns, to participate and share with us their experiences in dealing with HA and share with us any other information that they might have.”
“It can be on selection of applicants and approval process for lot allotment, behavior of HA staff in dealing with customers i.e. customer relations and customers who already owned a lot and were again allocated a lot by Housing Authority,” said Ms. Seeto.
She further encouraged members of the public to come forward and provide this information either in writing or at public inquiry.
“We encourage members of the public to come forward and provide this information either in writing or at public inquiry, which we will advise at a later date. There will be three public inquiries conducted, one in the Central, Western and Northern division respectively,” said Ms. Seeto.
With the Special Purpose Audit and Public Inquiry, the Authority will take further action on the findings and at same time, improve its internal processes and operations, to ensure that they are transparent, effective and efficient.