Tuilaepa calls for S.N.P.F. Chair's resignation

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 19 April 2024, 12:00PM

The Chairman of the Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.), Papali'i Panoa Moala, faces mounting pressure from the Opposition to step down from his position following allegations of misconduct and controversy surrounding an ongoing investigation. 

The call for resignation comes from none other than former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, the current Opposition Leader, who has raised serious concerns about the integrity of the Fund's leadership.

Tuilaepa made the call in response to queries from the media on Thursday. 

He pointedly challenged Papali'i to resign immediately, citing reasons related to his past conduct as the Fund's Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) in the past, and expressing apprehension about a potential repetition of mistakes in his current role as Chairman.

"As Chairman, he should not wait for the investigation to conclude. He needs to be let go," said Tuilaepa.

Tuilaepa claimed he could provide details of the circumstances leading up to the ending of Papalii's term as the CEO.

The Opposition Leader further extended his criticism to the Fund's Board of Directors, highlighting their role in decision-making processes that have come under scrutiny. 

Tuilaepa questioned the effectiveness of the Board, despite the impressive qualifications of its members, suggesting that accountability should be upheld at all levels of leadership within the organisation.

Central to Tuilaepa's concerns is the handling of an internal investigation involving senior managers who raised grievances against the Chairman. 

He condemned the actions of the S.N.P.F. Board and C.E.O., who are implicated in the concerns raised, for proceeding with the investigation despite a directive from the Minister of Finance to hold off until an independent inquiry is completed.

"The conflict of interest is glaring," Tuilaepa stated. "The Board and CEO should have recused themselves from the investigation."

Tuilaepa questioned Papali'i's alleged continued presence at the S.N.P.F. office during his suspension pending investigation, criticising his media interviews conducted online as potentially interfering with the ongoing proceedings.

"The public has the right to know the outcome of the investigation," Tuilaepa said. "But Papali'i's actions raise serious doubts about the integrity of the process."

In light of these developments, Tuilaepa reiterated that resignation is the most appropriate course of action for Papali'i and others implicated in the controversy.

"The sensible thing to do is to resign from their positions," he asserted.

Papali'i voluntarily stepped aside more than five weeks ago as the Ministry of Finance (M.O.F.) and Ministry of Public Enterprises (M.P.E.) initiated an investigation into grievances raised by senior managers at the Fund against him. 

Originally scheduled for completion within two weeks, the investigation was extended by another fortnight, yet there's been no official update on its progress.

Meanwhile, the S.N.P.F. Board is pursuing legal recourse against the Samoa Observer for disclosing information concerning the approval of $67 million to six businesses in a brief period. 

Attempts to get a response from Papalii regarding the call for him to step down were unsuccessful.

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 19 April 2024, 12:00PM
Samoa Observer

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