13 Mar 2004

Telecom Fiji Chairman declines to stand down criticised executives during inquiry

9:41 am on 13 March 2004

The head of the board of embattled Telecom Fiji is downplaying allegations that have been made against two top company executives.

The Fiji Post and Telecommunications Employees Association is demanding that an independent inquiry be held into allegations against the two and that they be stood down while it takes place.

They are the Telecom Fiji managing director Winston Thompson and its chief operating officer, Norman Nicholls.

Telecom Fiji says a board committee charged with supervising the probe may call in outside auditors, but the men will stay at work while the inquiry takes place.

The board chairman, Lionel Yee, says standing them down would not be fair.

"We at the present time of our judgement call on it don't think that it has reached that stage of seriousnness, to be fair to these two gentlemen who also have rights. And they haven't been proven to have done anything wrong so far."

Mr Yee says local Fiji reports that he has suggested the two resign are incorrect.

And he suggests that union claims have much to do with an upcoming union election.