Legal Advice On USP Ignored?

The USP sub-committee chaired by Nauru representative Lionel Aingimea to review the legal opinion on the contract met on Wednesday.
26 Feb 2021 09:12
Legal Advice On USP Ignored?
Professor Pal Ahluwalia and Lionel Aingimea.

It appears that the legal opinion conveyed by Suva law firm Munro Leys on the contract of former University of the South Pacific Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia may have been ignored.

The USP sub-committee chaired by Nauru representative Lionel Aingimea to review the legal opinion on the contract met on Wednesday.

Manager Communications Strategic Partnerships, Advancement & Communications (SPAC) Vineeta Nand said: “Any outcomes reached by the sub-committee will only be conveyed to its appointing authority, which is the USP Council.”

However, there are already indications that Mr Aingimea, who is also the President of Nauru, may have disregarded the legal opinion that Professor Ahluwalia’s contract was deemed terminated. This is after the VC’s work permit was revoked.

It appears that Mr Aingimea had asked for a clause to be put in that any expatriate employee of USP could operate from any of the 12-member countries.

In a statement issued on Wednesday February 24, 2021, Mr Aingimea said he had invited Prof Ahluwalia to Nauru.

“I have been entrusted by the USP council to chair a subcommittee that will make recommendations to the council about the Vice Chancellor’s contract and his continuing in this role from one of the university’s other member countries. The sub-committee will make its recommendations to council shortly,” he said.

“Professor Ahluwalia remains committed to the USP and to the Pacific and is keen to continue delivering on the USP education promise – to educate our youth while they stay in the region.

“During this hiatus, as council resolves the status of his contract, I have invited Professor Ahluwalia to Nauru to witness firsthand the challenges that face countries in Micronesia and the South Pacific.

“During this time, he will gain further understanding of how USP’s regional campuses function outside the Fiji (USP) Laucala Campus.

“As USP’s academic year is about to start, the capacity to engage at a regional campus will provide the Vice Chancellor with greater understanding of the realities faced by our students and allow him to reflect on innovative solutions which are so essential to the future of our leading tertiary institution.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa


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