(L-R): Dr Viliami Manu. PSC CEO Dr Lia Maka and MP Losaline Ma'asi

The CEO of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Dr Viliami Manu failed to obey directions from former Minister of the ministry, MP Losaline Ma’asi, it has been claimed.

MP Ma’asi also alleged that Dr Manu did not sit down with her as required by the Public Service Commission Acts, in a face to face interview to complete his assessment.

MP Ma’asi claimed Dr Manu did not provide important information she needed to help her prepare speeches she had to deliver to the United Nations and the World Food Organsation.

She said she felt the CEO was not cooperative.

As a result, the Minister recommended the Public Service Commission not to extend his contract on October 9, the same day her own position ended when the new government took office.

Hon. Ma’asi accused the PSC of inefficiency and failing to follow procedure.

She said she was surprised when she was told by the new Minister, Lord Tu’ilakepa, that Dr Manu’s contract had  been extended by the PSC.

She questioned the basis of the extension given that the reports on which the PSC based its decision must those she had prepared about Dr Manu.

She said there was no time for Lord Tu’ilakepa to do these reports as he had just became minister in the week Dr Manu’s contract was extended.

Ma’asi told the TBC she sent Dr Manu’s reports to the PSC before recommending his contract not be extended.

Ma’asi told the national broadcster she was baffled by the PSC’s move and asked whether it applied the same standards to all civil servants.

“On which assessement and PMS reports did the PSC base its decision?” Ma’asi has asked during the TBC interview. 

“Misleading and incorrect”

The PSC said Ma’asi’s allegations were misleading and incorrect.

It said the PSC also considered other performance measures routinely used for the overall assessment of all CEOs, which showed Dr Manu was performing well

It said the extension of a CEO’s contract was subject to the Public Service Act.

It said the MAFF CEO’s contract was extended in accordance with the law. The assessment of a CEO’s performance was conducted by the Commission in consultation with the Minister.

“As CEO, Dr. Manu’s annual assessment process included submitting his performance report to the former Minister,’ the PSC said in a statement.

“This gave her the opportunity to comment on his work and to endorse or not to endorse.

“Dr. Manu’s report was submitted to the former Minister. The legal process requires the Minister and the CEO to jointly discuss the report. The former Minister did not meet with the CEO to jointly discuss the report.

“The former Minister failed to submit it to the Commission in time. Six weeks past the deadline, and just before she had physically vacated her Ministerial office, she finally gave the CEO PMS report to the PSC, stating her dissatisfaction with the CEO’s performance.

“The former Minister did not give the CEO the opportunity to discuss her dissatisfaction with his performance report, a requirement of natural justice.

“MP Losaline Ma’asi was Minister over Dr. Manu for only four of the 12 months of his annual performance period. “

The PSC said former Minister Semisi Fakahau, who was the responsible Minister for the rest of the period, found Dr. Manu was performing well.

“At the same time, the PSC also considered other performance measures routinely used for the overall assessment of all CEOs,” the PSC statement said.

“This included the MAFF’s procurement performance; budget performance, HR performance, Revenue targets, Ombudsman report, HR and Audit records.

 “All these performance indicators showed the MAFF CEO was performing well. The PSC also conducted an in-depth interview with the CEO as part of the normal process, and he also confirmed in detail the performance and work of the Ministry.

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