The abuse of Government vehicles has come under scrutiny with the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, warning Chief Executive Officers to put their foot down.
The warning comes as the Government continues to spend ‘millions on fuel and maintenance’, which the Minister said is a disappointment.
This also should not be tolerated.
Speaking to Samoa Observer, Papali’i said the eight C.E.O's under his portfolio – representing the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure; Samoa Land Transport Authority; Samoa Water Authority; Samoa Shipping Services; Samoa Shipping Corporation; Samoa Ports Authority; Samoa Airport Authority and Electric Power Corporation – have been warned.
“I held a meeting with all of the C.E.O.’s of S.O.E's under my portfolio today (last Thursday) reminding them the current policy that only C.E.O’s are allowed to drive afterhours. If at any given time an employee is tasked with an after-hour job they are required to utilize the vehicle using an authorized sticker,” he said.
“This is one way to tackle the abuse of Government vehicles, but it’s an eye sore to see all these Government vehicles on the road afterhours without the authorized sticker. Who knows what they are using the Government vehicles for, whether it’s for actual government work or personal errands or just joy riding.”
According to the Minister, the abuse has been brought to his attention and he has personally witnessed it.
“We spend millions on Government funds for maintained and petrol for these Government vehicles and these are tax payers’ money and that is why the C.E.O. need to put their foot down because at the end of the day, they are the ones facing the music, not the employees.”
He also slammed government drivers who like to leave their vehicles running with the air-condition on during brief stopovers at a shop.
“Sometimes you find the government vehicles with the engine running with the full blast of the air condition while the driver is inside the store… this is just ridiculous. The C.E.O have been reminded to inform their employees to utilize the vehicles with care, these are Government assets and what I have seen and reported by the people is a clear indication these people don’t care about the Government’s assets.”
When it was put to the Minister that the same rule should also apply to cabinet ministers who leave on the vehicle air condition during brief stopovers, he said:
“Well, we Ministers have special privileges. We have the right to use the vehicle any way we know is right but not to abuse the Government assets.”