Disciplinary proceedings against Regulator underway
The Public Service Commission has formally initiated disciplinary proceedings against the Regulator, Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti, following a complaint by her secretary alleging “abuse” of authority.
The move by the Commission is outlined in a letter to the Regulator sent last week, in which she’s also warned that they are also considering suspending her from employment.
The letter is signed by Commission Member, Lauano Vaosa Epa.
"You have [seven] days to provide written submissions to the issue of suspension,” Lauano writes.
The Minister, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, and the Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, are also copied in on the letter.
Ms. Uelese’s original complaint was outlined in a seven page letter in Samoan and includes allegations of mistreatment and abuse; it was addressed to the Commission’s Chairman, Aiono Mose Su'a.
She alleged that she was assigned tasks not within her “job description” however out of respect for her superior she carried them out anyway.
Ms. Uelese claims that during working hours, she was tasked to allegedly run personal errands. The Regulator vehemently refutes the allegations.
According to the Commission letter, at its meeting on 12 February, 2020 the Commission determined to officially proceed with disciplinary proceedings against Lefaoali’i in accordance with Clause 19 of her contract of employment.
The Commission’s Assistant C.E.O. for Legal and Investigations, Maiavatele Timothy Fesili, is appointed Commission Delegate.
Emailed questions to the Regulator, including a copy of the letter, were not responded to as of press time.
As reported earlier, Lefaoali’i denied the allegations.
“I strongly deny the allegations and other false accusations made by the secretary,” she said in an email from the Samoa Observer.
Lefaoali’i said the allegations were “unfounded and defamatory to me and how I carry out my duties and responsibilities within the Office of the Regulator.
“Her allegations on using the petty cash for personal purchases and utilising [Office of the Regulator] employees are very untrue hence why I deny it.
“The secretary’s allegation has tarnished my good reputation that I have worked extremely hard to earn.”