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Piveni Piukala responded to allegations made by Public Enterprises

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 26/11/2019

Piveni Piukala this morning responded to allegations made by the Ministry of Public Enterprises which led to the termination of his contract as the Chairman of the ICT board.

Piukala received the letter of termination from the Prime Minister who’s also the Minister for Public Enterprises Hon. Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa which states the conditions for terminating his contract as the Chairman of the ICT Board of Directors.

The grounds for the termination as stated on the letter of termination of Piukala’s contract are incompetence, failure to assist the Public Enterprises to act accordingly with its principal objective and acting in bad faith.

The termination follows Piukala’s decision to decline to the PM’s letter of recommendation dated to 31st of October to suspend temporarily three staff members from Tonga Broadcasting Commission and to investigate them on alleged misconduct under the TBC’s policies.

The staff members are two news reporters Salamo Fulivai, Vilisoni Tu’inia and the Station Manager Setita Tu’i’onetoa.

He says if reasonable conditions and sufficient evidence were provided with the recommendation for the suspension of the three staff members, he would sack them straight away. He adds he hopes that they could work together and to follow the due process before making any decision.

In the letter the Prime Minister stated, that for Piveni as a director and chair to decline to immediately consider the recommendation to suspend three staff of TBC for an investigation to be conducted, and to continue to retain them at TBC is likely agreeing, causing or allowing the business of TBC to be carried out in a manner likely to create a substantial risk of serious loss to TBC’s customer’s and government.

PM also stated that this is despite the six sets of sufficiently established incidents of misconduct under the policy of TBC that was set out in his letter.

However, Piukala replied to this and said, that the PM hasn’t provide any evidence that amounted to the recommendations and if the PM is quoting TBC’s policy, then he’s following the due process according to the policy to suspend a staff that has led to the termination of his contract.

Piukala said, for a staff to be suspended, the allegation and evidence should be given to the staff to respond within 14 days.

 

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