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Fiji will continue to withhold USP grant

February 12, 2021 4:32 pm
Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum [Source: Fijian Parliament]

The Minister for Economy highlighted in Parliament today that Fiji will not release the University of the South Pacific Grant of $27.7m for the year 2020/2021 because of governance issues.

Sayed-Khaiyum says there are a number of governance issues within USP, which happened under the leadership of Professor Pal Ahluwalia.

He says these anomalies were raised to the Council by the Chair of the Risk and Audit Committee Mahmood Khan.

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“Various appointments were taking place, not adhering to the requirements and regulations, these are individual names so I am not going to read out. Despite conflicts of interest, again people who did not meet the requirements were appointed. Contracts were renewed. People who were appointed in the new positions after a three year contract it should have been advertised externally, meaning outside the university was only advertised internally.”

Sayed-Khaiyum adds that a simple independent investigation could solve governance issues within USP.

“The Council a lot of cajoling going on, refuse to do that. That’s all we wanted, independent and whatever the findings is we’ll follow it. We said unless and until this is done, we are not going to give a grant.”

The Minister earlier highlighted that all government wants is a clear and independent assessment and whatever the outcome, then would they continue with the grant.

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