SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT Minister Camille Robinson-Regis reported that more than one quarter of the almost 950 applications for rental assistance were invalid, including people living with relatives and those renting Housing Development Corporation (HDC) houses.
She was responding to an urgent question in the House Friday on when rental assistance would be disbursed.
She reported to date 946 applications have been received but upon review there were several anomalies suggesting attempts to commit fraud. She said because of this the ministry implemented a more robust system for evaluation of applications which included site visits to the address of every applicant.
"Already more than 25 per cent of these applications were found to be invalid. Some of the reasons are: persons were not residing at the addresses provided in their applications; some persons were not renting, but rather living with family and yet claiming rent; (and) some were even renting HDC houses."
She said notwithstanding these challenges to date the ministry has processed 220 of the applications.
Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial asked if the ministry had reported the (alleged) fraudulent activities to the police and Robinson-Regis replied that the ministry was speaking to the police.