Law of the jungle

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Dr Culwick Togamana
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-Togamana hits back at lecturers and staff of SINU that process must be followed to remove Vice Chancellor Chand

-Lectures and Staff of SINU demand removal of VC

By EDDIE OSIFELO

SOLOMON Islands National University (SINU) Council cannot meet to decide the future of Vice Chancellor Dr Ganeshwar Chand until he responds to allegations levelled against him, Council Chair Culwick Togamana says.

The Lecturers Association of the Solomon Islands National University (LASINU) is demanding the termination of Mr Chand. Their demand is stipulated in a seven-day letter which lapses today.

The letter was signed by LASINU and supported by SINU General Staff Association (SINUGSA), and was submitted last Wednesday, June 24, 2020 with a bulk of evidence, claims and allegations against VC Chand.

Allegations against him include abuse of Recruitment/Conflict of interest, VC influenced payment of consultants with incomplete work and financial mismanagement – abuse of procurement processes amongst others.

Chair Togamana however has spoken out against the two associations (LASINU and SINUGSA) saying they do not have the mandate to remove the vice chancellor.

Mr Togamana said only the Council has the mandate to remove the VC provided he responds to the allegations levelled against him.

“I have already sent the allegations to him through an email as he is currently in Fiji.

“We have to follow the process first to allow the VC to response before the Council can meet and decide,” he said.

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Togamana said there is a process to follow and not the law of the jungle which the two Unions seem to be behaving.

As per Chair-SINU Council request for their investigation into the allegation, members of the two associations met on June 23 at 4.40 pm at the Kukum Campus Lecturer Theatre and made the following recommendations;

  1. That with the strong evidence presented herein, we demand the termination of the Vice Chancellor (VC) to be made no later than seven (7) working days from the date of submission of these evidences.
  2. That failure to adhere to point (1), members of our two associations will withdraw labour forthwith”.

Spokesperson for LASINU had told the Solomon Star over the weekend that this is the second letter they submitted to the Council Chair on very much the same issues.

“The second letter was in response to the request from the Chair of the Council demanding both associations to provide evidence to support our claims against the VC,” the spokesperson said.

LASINU and SINUGSA have requested in their letter dated February 28, 2020 that Togamana must set up an independent committee to investigate the allegations.

They however learnt with much disappointment that Togamana was reluctant to initiate an independent committee to conduct an investigation and instead requested that they provided evidence to prove their allegations.

The two associations were also told by the chair they should follow the right process that can warrant the VC’s termination.

“This is uncalled for and perhaps shows Chair- SINU Council’s lack of interest in good governance, transparency and accountability across the university whilst continues to be protective of VC’s unbecoming actions,” the spokesperson said.

It is more likely the students’ association will join forces in support of the submissions as well, the spokesperson added.

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