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Bizarre turn of events yet another sad twist at controversy-prone N.U.S.

Just when we thought things could not be more interesting at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.), along comes another eyebrow-raising development this week.As if the controversy with the schedule of exams, suspensions, special leaves and the Cabinet-ordered investigation into the leadership of the institution is not enough, the investigation of another Senior Lecturer, whose qualifications have been questioned, tells quite a story.Ladies and gentlemen, this latest development has all the hallmarks of a classic "how not to run a university" kind of story. How ironic that qualifications, the very thing students enroll at the university to attain, has become the central issue in this bizarre development?It all started on Wednesday when a story titled “School of Medicine Lecturer investigated” appeared on the front page of the Samoa Observer. The Lecturer in question is none other than Dr. Embiruka Osborne Nyandiva, whom the University’s now suspended Vice Chancellor Professor Fui Asofou So’o had introduced with all the bells and whistles.  The Kenyan arrived highly acclaimed with qualifications including “MbChB, MMed_Path, PGDip-Forencic Medicine, FRCOP-UK, PhD-Mol Path & Oncology". Whichever way you look at it, that list is a mouthful but it wasn’t all. The University also announced that he specialised in “Pathology, Oncology and Forensic Medicine". That was last year. Since then, it’s fair to say he has been teaching students at the university who will go on to graduate from these fields.But Dr. Embiruka caught the attention of the Ministry of Health, which became suspicious about his work. The Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, told this newspaper their office immediately lodged a complaint with the N.U.S., Samoa Qualifications and the Office of the Attorney General.“I wrote to the Samoa Qualifications Authority and copied the N.U.S and the Medical Council, given there was some work he was doing for hospital, such as tissue counting,” Leausa explained.“And we found out some disturbing news about his credentials, information from the University in Kenya says they did not confer any Pathologist degree on him.”According to the Director General, Dr. Embiruka also applied for a Pathologist vacancy at the hospital. "But when the funders (the Australian government) questioned his credentials, he pulled his application.”Now that was on Wednesday.The very next day, another interesting piece of information arrived. This time, it was about a public notice issued by the St. Francis University College of Health and Allied Sciences (S.F.U.C.H.A.S.) in Tanzania. Posted on the school’s website on 15th May 2019, the notice reads: “This is to inform the community of S.F.U.C.H.A.S. and the general public that Mr. Osborne Nyandiva (in the photo above) is no longer an employee of S.F.U.C.H.A.S. as from the date of this notice. Consequently, S.F.U.C.H.A.S. will not be responsible for his actions.”For someone so highly qualified, why would such a notice be necessary?Believe it or not, when the Samoa Observer contacted the Administrator for S.F.U.C.H.A.S., Musa C. Mgaya, he delivered even more disturbing information.“He left our institution uninformed since September 2018, probably after he found out that we have discovered he presented to our office some forgery information including his academic certificates,” Mr. Mgaya said.“When we tried to inquire on his whereabouts, his response was not convincing and yet he could not get back to work for nine months now.“When we employed him, we submitted his certificates to the Board of Pathologists so as to ascertain his qualifications but it turned out that he was not real in his academic credentials.“We later on discovered that he even forged his endorsement letter from the Tanzania Commission for University which has discretion to scrutinize foreign awards before someone can work in Tanzania.”We’ll stop there.Suffice to say, as a fair newspaper would do, Dr. Embiruka was given an opportunity to respond to all these allegations, which he disputed of course. He also accused the Ministry of Health of conspiring against him.“I applied for the C.E.O. position (of the Ministry of Health) and I was told that I am a foreigner so why do I want to compete with locals, yet already getting high perks at the university,” he claimed.“They disregarded the application. The whole circle goes around harming all the black professionals at the N.U.S.”Really? Since when did Samoa have a problem with “black professionals?”In any case, Dr. Embiruka also threatening legal action and more.“Let them know it will be a Court battle because none of them understand the policies on personal data protection,” he said.“I will be a whistleblower for all the wikileaks and rots in the university and Ministry of Health regarding quite many things touching on nepotism, favoritism and racism (and) also unfair treatment of staff and even affairs for assured job security.”Now that’s interesting. Folks there sure is a lot for Dr. Embiruka to tell and we can hardly wait to hear. But of course he is no longer in the country and whether he would come back, who knows? Kenya is a far, far away place.What we do know is that judging from everything that has been happening at the National University of Samoa during the past few months, these developments do not reflect well on the leadership. It sounds like the institution needs a fresh start. What do you think?Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

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Street Talk

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Water and electricity prices pose challenge for families

I would recommend for the Government to cut the cost of water and electricity, even if there is no pay rise from the Government. Nowadays it is really hard for us. For me, I would prefer the costs of these two essential things to be reduced. We can barely afford it on top of everything else we have to pay. So a reduction in prices will be great please.Right now everything is expensive. Some families have one person who works but their income can’t match the cost of water and electricity bills, as they are expensive. So I think Samoa needs to cut the costs of both water and power to benefit all Samoans. The question is how? I think the government needs to cut down some of its spending. The costs of water and electricity are expensive for families who have less income. Just like my family, my husband is a fisherman and we come to pay our water bill that costs about $700 tala. I suggest that the Government cuts the cost of water and power for the people so that they can afford it. I agree that the costs of water and electricity are expensive because in our village, people complain about the high costs and that some families can’t afford to pay the bills. For me, I would suggest that the Government cuts the costs of water and electricity so people can afford them. The fact is water and electricity tend to become expensive if there is an increase in the cost of imported petrol. Government will ensure there is a balance so that Samoa doesn't operate in a loss when it comes to both water and electricity. For me that is how life works, sometimes it works for us Samoans and other times it doesn't. So it doesn't really matter if it's expensive or not. If the petrol imported from overseas is expensive to produce local electricity, then that means the cost of water and electricity here will also increase, which includes water. So for me, it doesn't really matter if it's expensive or not. 

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Letter to Editor

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U.S. Ambassador tries but no one is fooled

The photo in Wednesday’s Samoa Observer of the American Ambassador and his good lady with Imam Laulu Mohammed Stanley is very touching. Such fake empathy and compassion! If Ambassador Brown is truly sympathetic about what happened to the Muslim community in Christchurch, why not do something real like telling his boss in the White House and his former employers at Fox News to stop demonizing the Muslims with lies and fake news? And while you’re at it by the way, do the same with the evangelical so-called Christians of America.Because when you have such power over how people think and behave, you can’t go on preaching hate against other peoples and then not expect your followers and admirers somewhere to act on it. Words have consequences, the more so when they come from leaders. And what good is wearing a hijab in Samoa other than to take people here for fools, and to copycat the incomparable Ms. Ardern? The big difference is that Ms. Ardern wore the signature Muslim women dress with panache, compassion and most importantly sincerity. The whole world saw that in her, and with the exception of you know where, applauded. She also backed it up immediately afterwards with concrete action.  So please don’t add insult to injury and desecrate the hijab.  Your current employer in the White House and former employer at Fake News continue to empower killers like what’s his name in the Christchurch massacre. Wearing the hijab at this time is nothing but hypocrisy of the highest order and fools no one here. E le valea uma ValeGasa Lefa T. Vailima

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