New EC commissioners appointed; govt terminates Interim CEO Paula Tupou’s contract

The government has terminated the Electricity Commission (EC) Interim CEO’s contract and appointed two new Commissioners.

The Cabinet has appointed Sione Manumanu of ‘Āhau and Sitīveni Fe’ao of Nukuleka as new Commissioners for the EC to replace outgoing Lawyer Seinimili Tu’i’onetoa Fonua and Interim CEO Paula Tupou.

The Minister of Finance Hon Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa claimed Fonua and Tupou have breached employment regulations by applying to the post of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the EC while at the same time they were Commissioners of the commission.

Hon Tu’i’onetoa said Manumanu and Fe’ao will serve as Commissioners for the next three years after their appointments took effect from Monday 6 August 2018 at 9am.

In their letters of appointment Fe’ao and Manumanu were informed of the Minister of Finance and Cabinet’s rights to terminate their appointments in any time at their pleasure.

“Since you were not applied for this post, your appointment and removal, is entirely in the pleasure of the Minister with the confirmation of Cabinet.

“Your role is to take part with the other Commissioners in the overview of the management of the Electricity Commission as prescribed by the Electricity Act Chapter 32.12 Revised Edition 2016.”

Termination

In his letters approving Fonua’s resignation on August 2 and terminating Tupou’s appointment on August 3 Hon Tu’i’onetoa told the former Commissioners that he had received information from the Chairman of the EC that Fonua and Tupou have applied in a bid to become CEO of the Commission.

Hon Tu’i’onetoa told Fonua and Tupou he had informed them previously about the fact that if any Commissioner had applied to the EC’s CEO their appointments have to be revoked as a result because their interest in the position could “conflict with natural justice.”

The Minister told them they cannot hold the posts of the Commissioner while at the same time they could use it as a chance in the Commission to get involve in any matters that might relate to a decision to appoint the CEO.

Hon Tu’i’onetoa said: “I now write to advise you that in accordance with the Electricity Act 2007, section 9 (1) your appointment as Electricity Commissioner has been terminated for inability to perform your functions of the office of the Commission.”

Tupou told Kaniva News he has sought legal advice after the revocation of his contract.

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