Kotobalavu criticises move

Joji Kotobalavu. Picture: FILE

Former long serving permanent secretary in Fiji’s public service, Joji Kotobalavu, has criticised Public Service Commission chairman Vishnu Mohan on the decision to appoint and to renew contracts of current serving permanent secretaries “on the very eve of national general elections”.

“It is the wrong time to make these contract appointments,” he said.

“It is very presumptuous and highly politically insensitive for the commission to act in the belief that the holding of the general elections and its outcome are irrelevant and should not be taken into account.”

Mr Kotobalavu said section 126-(1)-(a) of the 2013 Constitution said that permanent secretaries were appointed by the Public Service Commission, “with the agreement of the Prime Minister”.

“The question that arises by making these contractual appointments now is: what happens if the general elections results in a change of government and the new incoming PM makes changes to the number of Ministers in Cabinet and in the composition and distribution of portfolio responsibilities.

“And further, what if the new PM does not agree to one or several of the appointments which the commission has made now?

“The commission should have waited and then made these appointments after the general elections.

“The commission should do the right thing and defer implementing its decisions until after consultations with the Prime Minister, who will be appointed after the general elections.

“In fact, if the commission fails to do this, the Constitutional Offices Commission should seriously consider disciplining the commission’s chairman.”

  • Questions sent to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Mr Mohan on the comments made by Mr Kotobalavu remain unanswered when this edition went to press.

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