The Public Service Commission (P.S.C.) has cleared the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Fuimapoao Beth Onesemo-Tuilaepa, of wrongdoing.
The decision was confirmed by P.S.C. Chairman, Aiono Mose Su’a, during an interview with the Samoa Observer.
“The allegations listed in the terms of reference for the inquiry have not been confirmed,” he said.
“And that is all I can say on the matter. The report has been submitted to the Minister of P.S.C.”
The Minister of P.S.C. is Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi. He could not be contacted for a comment as we was out of the country.
The P.S.C. had launched an Inquiry into the conduct of Fuimapoao over her handling of human resources issues at the Ministry. Among the issues investigated by P.S.C. was the decision to replace five of seven Assistant Chief Executive Officers at the Ministry.
In May 2018, Fuimapoao tendered her resignation. But she made it clear that her resignation had nothing to do with the P.S.C investigation.
At the time, she told the Samoa Observer that the Ministry had gone through a lot of changes of mandates, focus, approaches and programmes during her tenure.
“And the challenge is the implication of these changes amongst the staff that are needed to deliver the mandates of this office,” she said then.
According to Fuimapoao, there was little integration, systems, services and programmes when she arrived.
“So part of the changes that I have been leading in the past three years is to change the approach and so we now take an inclusive development approach,” she said.
“In doing so, there is no longer a division for women alone; it is now a social development division which looks at development needs of families.
“The former division for youth is now doing economic empowerment for everybody and the former division for internal affairs which was the division for men in the past is now looking at governance.
“These changes have been quite challenging for a lot of people.”
According to Fuimapoao, in the past, the Ministry carried out a lot of programmes such as giving courses for sewing and printing.
“Whereas the core function of every government is policy, coordination of the implementation, planning, monitoring and its evaluation, obviously with these changes, and just like every change, it is quite challenging,” she said.
“And especially when you require someone who has been doing the same work for the past 20 years to now come and do something different.
“The changes have not been as smooth as I would have liked it to be.”
Fuimapoao said the changes have been tough on her and the Ministry.
“The reality is we have been trying to address the core issues of violence against women and girls for many years and the recent survey in 2016 showed that the numbers are going up,” she said.
“And as with anything, if you try to fix the same problem with the same solutions, you’ll end up in the same place.”
She said part of the inquiry by P.S.C. looks at the new changes.
“We now have a mandate, new focus and a new approach and they are looking at the skillset that are needed and the competencies so that the Ministry can facilitate or best deliver the new changes,” she said.
“I am looking forward to the report and seeing the good changes, what needs to be improved and if there are any negative changes.”