NEWS

Winston Thompson: Leaked Documents Will Be Investigated

Mr Thompson said when the committee met in April, it was instead advised that the matter had been handed over to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.
15 May 2019 12:00
Winston Thompson: Leaked Documents Will Be Investigated
Winston Thompson

An investigation is expected to be carried out by the University of the South Pacific into how a confidential document has been leaked before necessary investigations had been carried out.

The document contains allegations against many individuals, including the university’s pro-chancellor, chair of the USP Council and chair of the executive committee of the council Winston Thompson.

In a statement, Mr Thompson said: “I am concerned and disappointed that a confidential document containing unsubstantiated allegations against many individuals, including myself has been leaked before any of the others have even seen the allegations and before any of us have had a chance to refute them.”

Mr Thompson said the document was first submitted to the USP’s executive committee in March this year.

“It was decided that the allegations should be investigated and each of the named individuals should be allowed to respond before the committee considered (in my absence) the document in detail,” he said.

“I regard this as the normal practice whenever adverse allegations are made against anyone, anywhere.

Mr Thompson said when the committee met in April, it was instead advised that the matter had been handed over to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.

“I was shocked that the process directed by the executive committee, which is generally followed when allegations are made against officers and staff members and which follows the requirements of natural justice had not been followed,” he said.

He was advised on May 9 that an article was on a media outlet’s Facebook page with some details of what was in the confidential document and he had been informed that the 11-page document was in public circulation now.

In a statement on its Facebook page yesterday, the University of the South Pacific Students Association said it was in regular communications with the Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia in this regard.

“The association will ensure that this matter does not affect any students or the teaching and learning environment as final exams are around the corner,” said USP Students Association secretary general Emosi Vakarua.

“We request that students rest assured as the matter will take its due course within the USP system and with relevant authorities subsequently.”

According to a published report, there are allegations of serious cases of mismanagement and abuse of process at the university.

The report said a document sighted by it questions alleged speedy appointments and contract renewals for at least 11 senior members of USP staff, most of whom are locals working at the main campus in Suva.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: avinesh.gopal@fijisun.com.fj

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