P.M. issues directive to E.P.C. Chairman

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 13 January 2018, 12:00AM

The Chairman of the Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C.) Board of Directors, Pepe Fiaailetoa Fruean, has been given a “directive” by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

It is what appears to be an angry letter from the Prime Minister, Pepe has been asked to submit all pending matters to Cabinet who will have the final say on them.

A copy of the letter written in Samoan, dated 22 December 2017, has been obtained by the Sunday Samoan. 

 “You are so busy that you have micromanaged the E.P.C,” reads a translation of the Prime Minister’s letter.

 “The government could be sued for liability worth millions of dollars as a result of projects that have been stopped by the Board.”

The Prime Minister’s letter does not detail what the projects are. 

But he did not mince words in his instructions to the Chairman.  

“This is a directive now,” he wrote. “Bring all the matters to Cabinet who will make the final decision.”

Attempts to get a comment from Pepe were not successful. An email with questions sent to him has not been responded to.

Phone calls were also not answered.

But the Sunday Samoan also obtained a follow up letter from the Minister of E.P.C, Papali’itele Niko Lee Hang, informing Pepe that he is no longer the Chairman of E.P.C. Board. 

The letter is dated 4 January 2018. 

“I had been instructed by the Honourable Prime Minister today to inform you about a change to your role as Chairman for the E.P.C. Board,” Papali’i wrote.  

“You will now be transferred to join the Samoa Airways Board of Director as a member, as the Honourable Prime Minister and I strongly believe that your vast expertise in management, finance and economics is more relevant to our new Samoa Airways Company than E.P.C.”

 Contacted for a comment, E.P.C's General Manager, Tologatā Tile Tuimaleali'ifano, said he wasn’t aware about the change.

He said they have not received an official word from Cabinet that the Chairman of the E.P.C. Board has been replaced. 

 “Our Chairman is overseas and we have not received any official word about that,” Tologata said. 

“As far as I know, Pepe is still the Chairman for E.P.C."

“As for the letters you had mentioned from the Minister and the Prime Minister, that is between them. We have not been officially informed about any changes.” 

Probed about projects Tuilaepa was referring to in his letter, Tologata declined to comment.

 “I cannot comment on that again until we receive an official word about what is going on.”

Tologata also wondered how the letters were leaked to the Sunday Samoan.

“And how did you get your hands on those letters? For now I cannot comment until we receive an official word.”

Pepe wears several hats. Apart from being the Chairman of the E.P.C. Board, he is also the Chairman of Digicel Samoa, a Board member of the Samoa Submarine Cable Company among many other senior roles.

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 13 January 2018, 12:00AM

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