Burden of proof on Oscar Malielegaoi, says P.M.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi yesterday said the “burden of proof” is on his son Oscar Malielegaoi, to perform as the newly appointed Ministry of Finance Chief Executive Officer.

And should his son not perform, the Prime Minister said: “Should he fail to deliver or under any circumstance violate his contractual obligations to government, I will be the first to let him go.”

Responding to social media criticism of a recent decision by Cabinet to endorse Mr. Malielegaoi’s appointment as the C.E.O. of the Ministry through a statement issued by the Government’s Press Secretariat, the Prime Minister said it was unfortunate that his son was the only applicant for the job, and critics should note that the position was advertised publicly for anyone to apply.

“The truth of the matter is he was deemed qualified by the selection panel, after satisfying the two essential ingredients for CEO appointments which are your academic qualifications and experience.

“There was no sinister plot surrounding the appointment as the position was publicly advertised for any person to apply.

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“It’s unfortunate that he was the only applicant but the same can be said for other CEO and senior government posts which only attracted one applicant,” he said.

Tuilaepa said insinuations that he allegedly intervened to influence the outcome of the selection process is an “outrageous lie”, as under no circumstance was he involved in the recruitment process.

“Even when it was tabled before Cabinet, I distant myself due to the glaring conflict of interest,” he said, while noting that it was not the first time that a high ranking government official is left in the same predicament.

“The policy is to consider the merits and if he or she is qualified—than why should a son or daughter who has earned it—be penalise because his or her mother or father holds a high ranking post.”

On the political arena, the Prime Minister said he expected “ghost critics” on social media to use the appointment as a political football to spread “lies and misinformation”. 

“I know their target is my administration and my leadership in their ongoing campaign to woo the voters. If anything, (Oscar) is convicted for being a qualified profession because he is my son,” he added.

Tuilaepa said the appointee is the victim of misinformation with the critics not considering the fact that the new CEO has the qualifications which include a master’s degree, vast experience in the public and government finance sector, is a member of the certified accountants faculty and has international experience as a former staff with the Asian Development Bank.

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