KPMG Details USP Dirt

The report noted that the Vice Chancellor was receiving his normal salary and benefits after his deportation from Fiji, The report also listed some recommendations, including strengthening internal processes
09 Jul 2021 12:15
KPMG Details USP Dirt

The KPMG report on the University of the South Pacific saga has vindicated many of the discrepancies in the university’s internal operations, which were highlighted by the Fiji Sun in recent months.

The report was made after calls to investigate allegations, including the appointment of individuals at top posts who were said to have not met the Minimum Qualification Requirement (MQR).

In March, KPMG zoomed in on the university to conduct the independent audit.

Fiji ceased its grant contribution last year after the USP Council allegedly ignored at least 14 of the 33 allegations by the Pro Chancellor Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC).

Fiji is one of the 12-member countries of the university and is the largest contributor to the university’s grant. In 2019, it contributed $27.5 million.

The next highest contribution of $3.4m came from the Solomon Islands.

Here are some highlights from the report.


Director for Centre for Flexible Learning:

  • Recruitment process did not comply with requirements for the 14-day advertisement,
  • No Police and medical clearances, and reference checks being done.
  • There were seven applications received, four of which were subsequently shortlisted and scheduled for interview on December 23, 2020.
  • It was noted that one of the things considered in the appointment was the gender of the person because there was a push to have equal gender representation.
  • The Vice Chancellor had the right to decide on what salary was to be offered to the incumbent.
  • Recommendation: Recruitment, advertising, secondment policies and procedures must be updated to include probationary clauses and make clear under what circumstances due diligence must be undertaken


Former Executive Director People and Workforce Strategy:

  • Incumbent had no experience in a university role this size although she had held Human Resource roles in international firms
  • Incumbent was given a moving allowance which was outside the contract.
  • The top four who had been chosen for the position initially had rejected the role due to personal commitments.
  • Recommendation: USP considers updating the recruitment checklist to include rejected offers.


Manager Communications

  • Incumbent did not meet the formal educational requirement of the minimum qualification requirement.
  • Incumbent met the ‘or’ requirement of having extensive training in the area.
  • Role was for a smaller organisation.


Director Communications and Marketing

  • Could not be determined whether the Vice Chancellor had meetings with the appointee prior to the recruitment and whether he had any conflicts of interest.
  • It was also noted that there was no evidence available to identify whether the appointee’s current employer at the time would have known that she was meeting with the USP and therefore confidential information shared or not.


Director, TAFE

The current director had the required experience which was required mainly during her six-months acting in the role.

It said she was selected because she had been working within the section for a long period and her appointment would bring stability to the role.


Contract renewal of Director Assurance and Compliance

The report noted that based on the current policy the director was eligible to apply for her contract renewal in November 2018, however her application was given one month prior to the November 2019 Staff Recruitment Committee (SRC) meeting.

However, the meeting was told that although the cutoff date for applications had been one and half months, applications had been accepted even two days prior.


Contract renewal of senior lecturer

The report noted the incumbent was given the position without meeting the Minimum Qualification Requirement (MQR) and the vice chancellor did not have the authority to lower the MQR.


Write-off of medical insurance

The medical insurance of $192,692 had been written off by USP in 2020. The amount will be paid back by staff in 2021 to the extent that the staff members are still employed by USP.


Remuneration payments to Vice Chancellor

The report noted that the Vice Chancellor was receiving his normal salary and benefits after his deportation. The report said although a special council meeting approved this there was disagreement between Council members on the legality of the payments.




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