Fiji Time: 4:31 AM on Tuesday 23 January

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Ravai tells all

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, December 16, 2017

FORMER Water Authority of Fiji CEO Opetaia Ravai said he was extremely disappointed and shattered by the board's decision to forcefully terminate his contract without reason.

He said he had sought legal advice and planned to raise the matter with the appropriate tribunal or court.

Mr Ravai said clause 11.1 of his contract, which gave the board sweeping powers to terminate his employment at any time and without having to provide a reason, was nothing short of draconian.

He said the contract did not provide job security for anyone interested in taking up the CEO position in the future.

Mr Ravai said the clause allowed the board to terminate him simply by giving one month's written notice or one month's basic salary.

"I signed it because I had mouths to feed and a family to take care of, like all else who have no choice, but to sign and gain employment to fend for their respective families," he said.

"It is nothing short of onerous and extremely overbearing.

"I performed with absolute sincerity, with passion and commitment because I deeply cared for the people I served.

"I believe my track record speaks for itself. I have been chairman of the Pacific Water Association since 2011 and was appointed WAF CEO in July 2012. And I can still recall the glowing commendation that the board chairman gave me when I took over WAF.

"Right up until the board meeting on Monday (December 11), I received nothing but commendations.

"There has never been any discussion about my inability to perform or conduct my duties, so you can imagine my reaction when I was given an ultimatum on Monday evening, after the board meeting, to either resign or be terminated under clause 11.1.

"At no time was I given the opportunity, either on Monday when informed of the board's decision, or on Tuesday, when I visited the board chairman at his office, to discuss the issue, in my attempt to seek an explanation or clarity on my predicament.

"For all my commitment and loyalty to my employer and my work, neither request was even considered."

Mr Ravai said in the seven years he had spent at WAF, he had given his all and he was bitterly disappointed at the disrespectful and degrading manner he was discarded.

Mr Ravai first joined WAF in September 2009.

He was a key member of the senior management team in the formulation of WAF during the transition period from the then Department of Public Works.

He was initially appointed general manager customer services. In February 2011 he was appointed Acting CEO before being permanently appointed the position of CEO in July 2012.

He has a Masters in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Diploma in Computing.

WAF board chairman PL Munasinghe announced Thursday that WAF was in the process of recruiting a new CEO with a strong engineering and technical background in water and wastewater management to oversee major projects scheduled to begin early next year, including the $US405 million Greater Suva Area Water and Waste Water Scheme.

He thanked Mr Ravai for his excellent work over the past five years, but said it was time to position WAF to meet the engineering and technical challenges that lay ahead.

Mr Munasinghe said WAF was entering a new era that would become highly technical and it needed someone with extensive hands on experience in water and wastewater project development at the helm.

He said a new CEO would be announced soon.

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