BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
THE Solomon Islands National University (SINU) saga has now caught the attention of the Solomon Islands Council of Trade Unions (SICTU).
SICTU says it will hold an urgent extraordinary meeting today to discuss the institution’s problem.
“Demand for the removal of the Vice Chancellor of SINU is going to be the main agenda item for an ‘Urgent Extraordinary Meeting’ of the National Executive of SICTU to be held in Honiara today.”
A Press Statement from SICTU yesterday said all the presidents and national secretaries of the country’s trade unions have been invited to attend the important SICTU meeting.
“Tomorrow’s SICTU Extraordinary meeting will give the two Executives of the Lecturers Association of Solomon Islands National University LASINU, and the Solomon Islands National University General Staff Association, SINUGSA to provide the SICTU National Executive about the current SINU dispute,” issued SICTU.
“LASINU and SINUGSA expressed serious concern about the way the Vice Chancellor is conducting the administrative and financial affairs of the University, describing the Vice Chancellor’s actions and decisions as reflecting outright nepotism, corruption, and coated with clear personal business and commercial interests.
“The two SINU trade unions have already provided the responsible Minister and Chairman of the Council Mr Togamana with written details of actions and decisions that the two SINU trade unions view as outright nepotism to the Chairman of the SINU Council, Dr Culwick Togamana, who is also the Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management, and Meteorology.”
Vice Chancellor of SINU is facing allegations including abuse of Recruitment/Conflict of interest, VC influenced payment of consultants with incomplete work and financial mismanagement – abuse of procurement processes amongst others.
Associations representing the lecturers (LASINU) and the general staff (SINUGSA) of the institution have since earlier this year called for the removal of the vice chancellor based on the allegations.
Following an ultimatum by the two associations calling the removal of the vice chancellor within seven days last week, SINU Council Chair Dr Culwick Togamana had responded labelling LASINU and SINUGSA’s behaviour as akin to the ‘law of the jungle’.
Togamana reiterated in his response that the institution has a process to follow in order to remove the vice chancellor, and asked both associations to adhere.
He mentioned that he had already sent an email listing the allegations to the vice chancellor, who is currently in Fiji, asking him to answer to them.
Togamana emphasises that the Council will have to wait for the vice chancellor to respond to the allegations before it can take any further course of action.