Ashley claims axing politically-driven
By AATAI J. LAUNGI
SACKED secretary to the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) board Charles Ashley says he believes his termination was related to a national Government $50 million request, which the last board rejected.
Government wanted the funds to purchase the Hells Point land in east Honiara from Lever Solomons Ltd.
Ashley confirmed receiving his marching orders Tuesday last week on the grounds of non-performance.
But he said there is more to his sacking than what was stated in his termination letter.
“Former board members Billy Titiulu and Humphrey Tura were also removed for not cooperating with the government when it demanded SIPA to provide $50 million for the purchase of Hells Point,” Ashley said.
“The Government is wrong to demand $50 million because the SIPA board cannot just give out free-handouts,” he added.
He said if the SIPA board give in to the Government demand, it would set a bad precedence for the State Owned Enterprise (SOE).
“I can sense that my termination was politically related to the government’s $50m demand to SIPA,” he claimed.
Ashley also stated that the current SIPA board is illegal and should not make any decisions to terminate any employee.
He said the SOE Act clearly stated that the minimum of any board to make decision is three members.
But he said the current SIPA board only has two members, and yet went ahead and terminated his employment.
Ashley said Michael Wate, the current general manager of National Provident Fund (NPF) and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) Steve Maesiola are the only two board members.
He argued Johnny Sy, the Filipino businessman who was recently appointed to chair the board, is an illegal member because his appointment does not follow the SOE Act.
Ashley said Sy’scontract as a SIPA board member expired February this year and his appointment by the Minister of Finance as the chairman of SIPA board is illegal.
“This is because the position has not been advertised.
“To be a board member or chairman, the position must first be advertised and candidates have to shortlisted, interviewed, and selected.
“This was not the case in Sy’s appointment so his chairmanship is null and void,” Ashley said.