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No fraud by previous USP management: Thompson


Jun 11, 2020 04:04:29 PM

No fraud by previous USP management: Thompson There was no need to charge anyone from the previous University of the South Pacific management with fraud, says Pro-Chancellor Winston Thompson.

Thompson says selected bits and pieces of an audit report into allegations against the previous management by now suspended vice-chancellor Pal Ahluwalia were being leaked on social media to “make the previous management look bad”.

He made the comments today after parts of an audit investigation done by accounting firm BDO started circulating on social media.

BDO was assigned to carry out the investigation by the university council after Ahluwalia had made claims of mismanagement in 2019.

Thompson said before the allegations were presented to the council, Ahluwalia had submitted them to the then executive committee.

He said at that time the allegations were considered serious and more information was needed as the report was half-completed.

“The executive committee at that time asked the university’s director audit to carry out an investigation and come back to the executive committee and present a report,” Thompson said.

“On April 17, the director audit said he was going to hand the matter to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption. We couldn’t do anything because the matter was handed to the Commission.”

“I was informed that on May 9 that the whole report on the allegations was on Facebook. As it was on the public domain everyone thought that they were guilty,” he said.

Thompson said because of the publicity and the media tension, when the council met in Vanuatu, the council members were alarmed.

“They all wanted a special investigation. Eventually, BDO was assigned to carry out the investigation,” he said.

“In the meantime, the Commission [FICAC] was having its own set of investigations. They had come to the office and took some documents with them.”

“After two months of the investigation, they said that there were some stuff that we [FICAC] are not supposed to be involved in.

“I was called up to them and they said that their investigation states that there are not any places FICAC should be involved in,” he said.

He said this explains that the matter wasn’t serious.

He said some of the material circulating on social media is factual but some is only trying to make the institution look bad.

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka

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