Sep 19, 2019 Last Updated 12:50 AM, Sep 19, 2019

USP Council meets on abuse report

USP Council meeting in Fiji this week to consider investigator's report into abuse allegations. USP Council meeting in Fiji this week to consider investigator's report into abuse allegations. Supplied
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By Samisoni Pareti

The supreme body of the University of the South Pacific, the USP Council is meeting in Nadi, Fiji from today to discuss the report of the investigation into allegations of gross abuse and mismanagement at the regional institution.

The two-day meeting at the Tanoa International Hotel is however shrouded in deep secrecy, with reports circulating that the University Pro Chancellor, retired Ambassador Winston Thompson of Fiji directing that no electronic copy of meeting documents should be made available.

IB Online has also been reliably informed that copies of the investigators’ findings have not been circulated to council members beforehand as is the usual meeting practice. All Council members will get their copies when they attend today’s meeting.

Such a directive has got the university staff association worried, and they have told Islands Business they fear that attempts could be made to tamper or water down the content of the investigators’ report.

USP staff have repeatedly written to the USP Council to voice their concerns about the so called independence of the investigation, but these concerns have been largely ignored. They had also submitted that Thompson ought to step aside during the investigations because he is among those implicated in the allegations.

A New Zealand accounting firm, BDO was invited by the Council in July to conduct an investigation into allegations of abuse and mismanagement by the previous USP management that were highlighted in a confidential report that was authored by the university vice chancellor, Professor Pal Ahluwalia.

Staff had even questioned the appointment of BDO as investigator, given that the chair of the Council’s Audit & Risk Compliance committee was a former BDO partner.

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Last modified on Thursday, 29 August 2019 11:31
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