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YAREN, Nauru – April 26, 2021: 3.15pm (FIJI TIMES): Professor Pal Ahluwalia is still the vice chancellor of the University of the South Pacific and once issues are cleared at council level, he will be allowed to operate out of any member country outside of Fiji.

This was the word from USP chancellor and President of the Republic of Nauru, Lionel Rouwen Aingimea.

Speaking to The Fiji Times from Nauru last Thursday, Aingimea said he had received a lot of letters from USP students and staff expressing disappointment that issues remained unresolved.

He confirmed the USP Council would be discussing the Prof Ahluwalia issue at a meeting on 27 April.

Aingimea said there was no question that Prof Ahluwalia was still the VC.

“That was a question that was put to a subcommittee, the subcommittee has put it back to the council with some recommendations – as far as I am personally concerned, he is still the VC of the USP,” he said.

In terms of Prof Ahluwalia not being able to return to Fiji, Aingimea said he could operate from any member country.

“As far as I am concerned there are other campuses around the region, USP is a regional institution and, therefore, the VC can, as far as I am concerned, operate out of Samoa, Vanuatu or Nauru or any other country for that matter.”

Prof Ahluwalia and his wife Sandra Price were removed from their home at about 11.30pm on 03 February this year and driven the same night to Nadi International Airport before being deported the next morning to Australia.

According to a Government statement, Professor Alhuwalia and his wife Sandra Jane Price had continuously breached Section 13 of the Immigration Act which led to their deportation.

Meanwhile, the BDO report which highlighted a number of governance issues at the University of the South Pacific is still relevant and the contents will be discussed at a USP council meeting on 27 April.

This, according to USP chancellor and President of the Republic of Nauru Lionel Rouwen Aingimea.

Speaking to The Fiji Times from Nauru, he said the KPMG report referred to in Fiji media reports could not overshadow the BDO report.

“As far as I am concerned the BDO report is relevant and that’s an issue we will be discussing as we tick off these items on the agenda on things we need to fix urgently that is also a matter of importance to USP council,” Aingimea said.

“The BDO report is a report of great importance because that is a report that was sanctioned by council and also there was commission mounted because of the BDO report so that is still a relevant issue for council.

“It will be brought to light again either by myself or other members of council who have voiced that it is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

“We can’t just allow the work of the BDO report to go to the side and the work done by the commission to also be shoved aside.”

The BDO report came about after USP vice-chancellor Prof Pal Ahluwaia raised serious allegations of misconduct by top university executives in early 2019 related to remuneration policies and control, inducement allowances, responsibility and acting allowances, bonuses, consultancy arrangements, succession planning, human resources, transition arrangements, governance and oversight, operation of senior management team, interface between governance and management and committee structure and responsibility…… PACNEWS

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