A.C.E.O.s suspended for 'hindering' Regulator probe

The Public Service Commission has suspended two Assistant Chief Executive Officers for allegedly "hindering" an investigation into the suspended Regulator, Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti.

The suspension of the senior officials, both Assistant Regulators, was confirmed by the Minister of Communications Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, during an interview with the Samoa Observer on Saturday evening.

“They have been allegedly hindering the process and they have been removed temporarily to allow the P.S.C. to carry out their investigation without their involvement," he said.

Faalelei Sua is the A.C.E.O. for Corporate Services while Venus Iosefa is the deputy chief for Regulatory and Consumer Services for the Regulator's Office; both report to the Regulator. 

The move comes only days after the Regulator herself was suspended by Cabinet.

"I want to make it clear the A.C.E.O.s are not the subject of the investigation," he said. 

On Thursday, Cabinet suspended Leafaoali’i amid an ongoing investigation into a complaint by her former secretary alleging she “abused” the powers of her office.

Afamasaga said the allegations against Sua and Iosefa were that they “attempted to influence the decision of the Secretary” regarding her complaint to P.S.C.

Afamasaga explained the two A.C.E.O.s are themselves being investigated by the P.S.C. 

The Minister said the Office of the Regulator was open for business as usual, despite the suspension of three top level management roles. 

“There are [principal staff] and officers that are working and are well versed with the operation of the office,” he said. 

The Minister expressed concerns over the allegations against the Regulator. 

“But so far, as we discussed yesterday, she’s not guilty; they’re just allegations,” explained Afamasaga. 

The complaint was lodged by the Regulator’s secretary, Fialupe Fuimaono Uelese, in a seven page letter written in Samoan which included allegations of mistreatment and abuse.

The complaint was officially filed with the P.S.C. on May 15 last year. 

Both A.C.E.O.s did not respond to written requests for comment on Saturday. 



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