USP director testifies about alleged mismanagement and interference

July 17, 2023 2:23 pm

The University of the South Pacific Director of Assurance and Compliance says in March 2019, she was summoned to the Executive Council Committee to provide her report on the whistleblower policy.

Dulari Doras Traill says USP Vice-Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia also provided his report of alleged mismanagement on the same day.

She says the report consisted of allegations of bonus payout, remuneration promotion and how money was given to individuals who were not entitled to it.

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She says later that day, the Executive Council Committee advised her to continue her investigation.

She says her team uplifted all the documents including the report by Professor Ahluwalia and in April 2019, she made a decision to report the matter to the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption.

However, she alleges that there was a lot of interference by Council Chair Winston Thompson.

She says she was concerned as she was not able to collect evidence as they were not given access to documents as Thompson allegedly had some control over it.

The prosecution witness says  FICAC also started conducting their investigation and started uplifting documents.

She says the FICAC officers were ready to go into caution interview when something changed in their activities.

Traill says the officers then informed them that they were instructed to stop the investigation and to investigate a complaint of the report by Professor Ahluwalia which was leaked.

Traill is the first prosecution witness in the trial against former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho.

The charges stem from a complaint filed by the university in July 2019, pertaining to the conduct of former staff members.

Bainimarama is charged with a count of attempting to pervert the course of justice while Qiliho is charged with a count of abuse of office.

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