THE FINACIAL INTELLIGENCE UNIT is investigating allegations of fraud surrounding the government’s housing programme in the St Patrick West Constituency. Parliamentary Representative for the area Anthony Boatswain on Wednesday confirmed that he is aware of an investigation. However Boatswain said he would not comment on the details of the situation because the investigation is on.
According to our information the investigation is focusing on the procurement of materials and other resources, which are meant to go towards providing housing for the vulnerable. We have learnt that investigators are looking into falsified documents.
There were reports that at least one person had been arrested but at press time we could not confirm that this was in fact so.
A fellow housing officer in another constituency told this newspaper that the people involved “should be shot” given the nature of the fraud that the police are investigating.
“These are poor people they are stealing from”, he said.
We have learnt that a hardware company in St Andrew alerted the minister for housing after they discovered discrepancies in documentation provided by the officer for materials. A source said company officials discovered recently that two slings of cement left the hardware when in fact the government order was for twenty bags.
Our source said there has been an extraordinary amount of housing grants going to persons in St Patrick West who would otherwise qualify for the housing loan programme and it is through this that the state has been bilked out of tens of thousands of dollars.
We were informed that when persons requested a particular amount of material, documents would be prepared for larger quantities but housing clients would only receive that which they requested while the remainder is kept for purposes other than the government programme.
Over the years many questions have been raised regarding the administering of the national housing programme, where government provides a limited amount of material for persons to build or repair a small home.