Prisons A.C.E.O. facing termination

Days after assuming control of Prison and Correction Services, the Police Commissioner moved to immediately terminate one of the organisation’s top officials.

Assistant C.E.O. of the Programme Development Service Unit, Maiava Vi’iga Fuimaono, was told of the intention to terminate his services on Friday, Police Commissioner Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil confirmed. 

“These are part of changes that we’re making at the prison, the Commissioner said. 

“We conducted a visit at the prison this morning and there were things that were not right; and due to the nature of the takeover I will not hesitate to make the necessary changes.” 

Fuiavaili’ili told the Samoa Observer, that Friday’s announcement of an intent to terminate his position was the first of what will be many changes to come for the administration of prisons in Samoa. 

“I am inheriting the prison and their many problems and therefore, I will make the changes that see fit and lawfully,” he said.  

“Part of my job is to protect the rights of the prison guards and the prisoners and I am trying my best to address the issues here at the Prison”.

The move comes after Police were handed back the authority to oversee Samoa’s prisons on Tuesday following a mass breakout the day prior. The Prisons Commissioner Taitosauā Edward Winterstein resigned on the same day. 

Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil said that while he cannot “sack” an A.C.E.O. - only Cabinet can do that - he was able to initiate proceedings to end his tenure at the organisation. 

The Samoa Observer contacted Maiava for comment. 

“I am collecting my thoughts and see where I go from here,” he said. 

According to Maiava, the decision to “sack” him was uncalled for. 

“I don’t deserve this,” he said. 

Asked whether he will take legal action against the Ministry, Maiava said was undecided. 

But he Minister of Police, Prison and Correction Services, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, said the Commissioner has the power to terminate officials afforded to him under the Constitution in the Emergency Order that’s been endorsed by the Head of State. 

“This order under the Constitution trumps the Act, as this emergency takeover and I will support the decision if there is merit," he said. 

Tialavea said the Emergency Order endorsed by the Head of State gives the Commissioner, Minister and the Prime Minister to make any swift changes they see fit. 

The Minister said they will meet with Commissioner and the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, to determine the final decision in the case. 

The Prison and Corrections Services is not subject to the rule of the Public Service Commission.

Under the Prison and Correctional Services Act, the Head of State, acting on the advice of Cabinet, may terminate the appointment of the Commissioner or the Assistant Commissioner for breach of or on grounds of incapacity of the Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner.

Those grounds include affecting adversely community confidence; failing to maintain discipline in the service; and incapacity. 

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