MALAITA Provincial Secretary (PS) Frederick Fa’abasua is now seeking legal clarification over his suspension as the Provincial Premier Daniel Suidani calls for his immediate reinstatement.
Mr. Suidani made the call after Mr. Fa’abasua received his suspension letter from the Ministry of Public Service Permanent Secretary Nego Sisiolo on Friday.
Mr. Sisiolo stated that Mr. Fa’abasua’s suspension is effective immediately over complaints raised by former disgruntled Malaita workers against the Malaita Provincial Secretary.
His suspension is to allow further investigation into these complaints, the letter stated.
However, speaking to Solomon Star Mr. Suidani said it was through Mr. Fa’abasua’s hard work and integrity that enabled the province to recover millions of dollars of outstanding debts left by the previous provincial executives.
He said PS Fa’abasua has been an exemplary public officer and a real servant to the Malaita people.
“His dedication and faithfulness have seen the charging of fair business licenses on the logging companies ripping our people’s land.
“His careful diligence has given pride and hope to the people of Malaita Province.
“It is very sad after all this work; two different ministries have tried to remove PS Fa’abasua from serving the people of Malaita Province,” the Malaita Provincial Premier said.
In December last year, the Ministry of Provincial Government attempted to recall Mr. Fa’abasua back to Honiara.
“No reason was given then and the PS kept serving the people of Malaita until now,” Mr. Suidani said.
He said the action by the Ministry of Public Service PS last week is another attempt to remove Mr. Fa’abasua from his position as Malaita Provincial Secretary.
Mr. Suidani added that Mr. Sisiolo’s action did not follow the process set out in the Public Service Act and its Regulation.
“The Public Service Act and its regulations have a specific legal process set out, by which such accusations can be taken up and acted upon.
“This legal process provides the opportunity for natural justice, and this process was not followed by Sisiolo.
“As such, our PS has decided to initiate legal proceedings unless the PS withdraws the unlawful suspension,” the Premier said.
He added that the Public Service Act sets out a process by which any officer alleging misconduct and having supervisory responsibility for the PS must have a report about this accusation filed to the PS of Public Service.
“The PS of Public Service in turn must give a minimum period of seven days to the officer to respond.
“None of these steps have happened or if it had happened the PS has not been aware of it, and therefore our PS has decided to put these issues before the Permanent Secretary of Public Service for him to do the right thing by following the clear process that is set down.
“Soon these matters will be at court but for now I will say this; the PS of Public Service without any good reason is attempting to discipline the PS of Malaita Province, yet he is allowing a person who has been found to be a foreigner by the High Court of Solomon Islands to continue holding a senior political position in the Prime Minister’s Office.
“That person too has contravened the Electoral Acts of this country yet the leaders of this country including the PS of Public Service are turning a blind eye on that situation.
“The PS of Public Service needs to explain this to the people of Malaita,” Mr. Suidani said.
“He is trying to remove PS from Malaita Province, this time by trying to suspend him without any proper evidence put against the PS and without even complying with his own regulations.
“I am not sure of the real reason for these constant attacks on PS Fa’abasua, but the timing of this action by Sisiolo will have some severe effects on the people and province of Malaita,” Suidani said.
He said the Malaita Provincial Executive is scheduled to meet today to pass the budget for Malaita Province.
He said the suspension of Mr. Fa’abasua will affect this process.
“The passing of the provincial budget is important and I appeal to Sisiolo to withdraw the order to immediately suspend PS Fa’abasua to enable the budget meeting to take place.
“If he has a genuine concern for upholding the rule of law, I invite him to act upon what is set out in the Public Service Act,” Mr. Suidani said
He said that the issue is a serious situation that could have a direct impact on the provincial government.
“For my people of Malaita, this is a serious situation which could have a direct impact on your provincial government.
“However, I ask for you to remain calm,” the provincial premier said.
Mr. Suidani made this statement as some members of the Malaita public have already expressed disappointment over the Ministry of Public Service’s action to suspend the provincial secretary.
By SOLOMON LOFANA
Auki News Bureau