“Unfounded allegations” says Prisons’ Minister

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE: Tialavea said the allegations were made by a disgruntled employee who was dismissed.

INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE: Tialavea said the allegations were made by a disgruntled employee who was dismissed. (Photo: File)

The investigation launched into the behavior of  certain members of the management of the Samoa Prisons and Corrections Services (S.P.C.S.) “amounted to nothing but unfounded allegations”.  

That is the response from Minister of Samoa Prisons and Corrections Services, Tialavea Tioniso Hunt, to questions from the Samoa Observer on the status of the investigation ordered by the Prime Minister on September, 2017. 

“The investigation is complete and there was not sufficient evidence supporting the allegations against my management staff. 

“I have also reinstated my Acting Assistant C.E.O. Levao Rosa Mene, who was placed on leave.

“Allegations made against my management staff were all from a disgruntled employee who is irresponsible and refuses to take responsibility for his actions that led to his dismissal,” he said. 

“What do you do when you are sacked from your job? You will do anything to tarnish the reputation of people who sacked you” 

Tialavea said what had been done by disgruntled employee was understandable; however it was just hot air with no actual evidence. 

“I’m glad the investigation took place so now we can move on from this and focus on more important issues with the development of programmes for inmates and seeing through the new prison construction. 

“These are vital projects and I am glad my A.C.E.O. is cleared and now we are back to work,” he said. 

In September, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate serious allegations made against certain members of the management of the S.P.C.S.

A copy of the letter was obtained by the Samoa Observer. 

The complainant was Andrew S. Chong, a former employee of S.P.C.S., who targeted the decisions made at the top level. 

Mr. Chong’s grievances are spelled out in a three-page letter to the Prime Minister, which prompted the order for an investigation. 

The complainant’s letter, dated September 4, 2017, was attached with Tuilaepa’s letter to the Ombudsman. 

Mr. Chong argued that the grounds for his termination were unfounded and called on the Prime Minister to investigate the matter. 

Highlighted in the three-page letter were allegations of marital affairs amongst staff members.

Mr. Chong also accused senior management of hiring family members to work at the prison.

He claimed that a vehicle, licensed S.P.C.S. 09, was involved in a serious crash, yet there was no disciplinary action taken against the driver.

There were further allegations that prisoners were used by senior staff members to do their work and to construct their homes, including a house built at Falelauniu.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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