Board appointments to statutory organisations.
Political cronyism and nepotism
The National Federation Party says it has evidence that the membership of Boards of statutory organisations as well as well as that of a few Independent Commissions are not merit based but political appointments, resulting in them becoming heavily politicised, causing interference in the operations of the organisations.
NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad made the comment after former Land Transport Authority Chief Executive Officer Carmine Piantedosi alleged that he was coerced into resigning by the LTA Board on 3rd November.
“We are really not surprised Mr Piantedosi’s statement that he did not resign for personal and family reasons as announced by the LTA Board Chairman because if he did, he would have informed the LTA staff well in advance of his departure”, Professor Prasad said.
“We have gathered reliable information that Mr Piantedosi was subject to allegations arising out of his actions and decisions. However, those allegations were not investigated and the Board itself became the judge, jury and the executioner”.
Professor Prasad said the right thing to do in any disciplinary process is not to terminate or coerce someone to quit a job but to tell him or her to step aside or go on leave to allow for an independent investigation of the allegations.
“We have seen three expatriates, including two permanent secretaries quit their jobs in the last 18 months. One lasted three months and Mr Piantedosi was on the job for less than 6 months”.
“Any government should be concerned about the sudden exodus of personnel that were hired and introduced to the people of Fiji as having vast experience and knowledge in their respective fields”.
“But the current government is conveniently silent and deliberately oblivious to what is happening because government and the respective cabinet ministers know that those who have left were forced out because the Board acted on the instructions of their political masters”.
“We have evidence that those appointed to the Boards are either strong Fiji First supporters, financiers or tasked by Fiji First to organise fundraising drives for the party”.
“We know that one member of the LTA Board organises fundraising drives for Fiji First. This is also true for a member of an Independent Commission who is also a member of other statutory Boards”.
“Therefore, most Boards and key appointments in statutory organisations and even in the civil service are not merit based but on political cronyism and nepotism”.
“If this is not so, then the Minister responsible for LTA should also demand the resignation of the LTA Board for failing to follow due process of fair hearing in the interest of justice in Mr Piantedosi’s case, and institute an independent investigation into the operations of LTA as well as of the Board”.
Professor Biman Prasad