14 May 2019

USP council chair wants probe into leak

12:18 pm on 14 May 2019

An investigation will be ordered into the leak of confidential documents alleging mismanagement at the University of the South Pacific.

USP's Suva campus

USP's Suva campus Photo: wikicommons

The chair of the university's council Winston Thompson said he would be requesting the probe into how the "unsubstantiated allegations" were leaked before anyone had a chance to refute them.

Documents published by Islands Business last week raised questions over staff appointments and payment deferments at the university which is headquartered in Suva.

Mr Thompson said the document was first submitted to USP's Executive Committee in March.

He said it was decided that the allegations should be investigated and each of the named individuals should be allowed to respond before the committee considered the document in detail in his absence.

Mr Thompson said he understood all copies of the document were collected for safekeeping to allow for an independent investigation and a report would be submitted in April.

But he said he was shocked to discover when the committee met last month that the normal process had not been followed and the matter had been handed to Fiji's anti corruption body, FICAC.

"Quite clearly, a gross injustice has been done to the named individuals who have worked assiduously and who do not deserve to be treated in this way," Mr Thompson said in a statement.

"I apologise to them in the name of the University.

"I issue this statement to give context to the unfair and harmful disclosure of unverified information, which has resulted in several individuals being judged without having had the opportunity to respond to the allegations."

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