By: Anish Chand

Fijian Dr Joeli Veitayaki has been appointed as the new Director of the University of the South Pacific’s Alafua Campus in Samoa.

The appointment comes amid reports that Alafua Campus’ current Director Mohammed Umar has been sent on leave.

Dr Joeli is currently undergoing orientation at the Suva campus.

A news article titled “New Campus Directors to Promote MBA Programs” posted on the USP website names Dr Joeli Veitayaki as the new Alafua Campus Director and Dr. Robin Havea as the the newly appointed Campus Director for Tonga.

“Both directors were welcomed by Professor Gurmeet Singh, the Head of School and Director of MBA, accompanied by Dr. Halahingano Rohorua, Deputy Head of School and academic and support staff. This meeting was part of their USP orientation programme and the duo were briefed about the MBA offerings in the region, future plans and other initiatives,” the USP article reads.

Joeli Veitayaki was an Associate Professor at the School of Marine Studies prior to his new appointment. He is also Director for the International Ocean Institute Pacific Islands based at the USP and is Co-Chair of the Korea-South Pacific Ocean Forum. He is a trained teacher who did his Bachelor of Arts in Education and Master of Arts Studies at USP. He obtained his PhD in Environment Management and Development from the National Centre of Development Studies (NCDS) at the Australian National University. 

At the weekend, Alafua Campus Director Mohammed Umar revealed he had been sent on paid leave pending an investigation.

“I asked them what were the allegations and they said they did an audit review, I asked where the report is and they said they cannot give it any time soon. That was not a very good thing. They said you’ll have the opportunity to respond to this report when you will get it, so I said you should give it to me now because you are taking that decision, then I should know what’s in the report. They said we will put you on full salary but you go on leave,” he told Samoa Observor.

USP has announced BDO Auckland has been selected to investigate a number of issues that have been brought to the attention of the USP Council by the new Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia.