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Ministry Fraud Proofs Assistance Programme

The Ministry of Social Services has put measures in place to fraud proof its uniform assistance programme after a woman tried to scam the government out of free uniforms.

It has been reported that a woman tried to get a purchase order from another parent to retrieve free new uniforms.

The person was arrested and charged with fraud, according to reports.

“We have put in place a new process that we believe for the most part that process is working well,” Minister of Social Services Melanie Griffin said this week.

“What we now do is give the client a purchase order and on the face of that purchase order is the value of the purchase and it has a signature that must be presented in order for it to be valid and the vendors have a responsibility to ensure that everything is in place and to ensure what is on the purchase order is given to the client.”

The minister said officials wanted to make an example out of swindler.

“We wanted the public to know that this is a no-no,” Minister Griffin said.

“It carries with it some liability because it is indeed fraud and we also wanted to appeal to persons that if you don’t need the assistance there are other persons who have genuine needs and you should leave it for them.”

Minister Griffin said the new process was put in place not only to protect the government from fraud but to relieve the burden of overwhelmed social workers.

“The new process was put in place because of the volume of business and the labour intensity of the work. We try to make it an easier process for the client and for the social worker,” she said.

“You can imagine a social worker who has to interview a client and then has to do an assessment go out and purchase uniforms and bringing that volume of uniforms to the office. It really is very labour intensive. So we try to make it simpler for the client to come and pick up the uniforms.”

The Department of Social Services recorded an expenditure of $338,207 in 2011 on its uniform assistance programme.

In Nassau alone, 2,770 children received uniforms from the government.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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