Suspended Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Afamasaga Su’a Pou Onesemo, has denied charges of impropriety and says it was a set up.
Responding to questions from Samoa Observer over the weekend, the suspended top bureaucrat said the charges by the Public Service Commission (PSC) revolved around the allegation that he has a personal interest and business relationship with the Indian company Ascent Naval and its principal Sh.P.K. Bansal.
But that accusation is far from the truth because a Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure (MWTI) investigation has identified and dealt with the employee at the center of this controversy according to Afamasaga.
“I strongly deny that (and) as mentioned previously, the ministry employee involved has now being identified and dealt with. All their attempts were calculated to remove me from the ministry. The final act was the complaint to P.S.C. dated 7th May 2018, urging the commission to suspend me and conduct an investigation within M.W.T.I. immediately,” said Afamasaga.
Officials leading the inquiry are welcome to check his bank accounts and financial records, he added while highlighting that the allegations damaged his reputation
“The four weeks of investigation ongoing and they are also welcome to go to Australia or anywhere to check my financial accounts to verify any suspicious transactions. These malicious allegations by Ascent naval company have caused irreparable damages to me and my family now and in the future.”
Afamasaga said his decision to remove India-based Ascent Navals from the procurement process to engage a ‘Recognised Organisation’ allegedly led to its owners making false allegations against him.
“All their attempts were calculated to remove me from the Ministry. The final act was the complaint to PSC dated 7th May 2018, urging the commission to suspend me and conduct an investigation within MWTI immediately.”
He said the investigations are ongoing and ‘hopefully they’ll look at it that way’ as the evidence is there.