Thompson does not support council’s decision

Winston Thompson (left) speak at a press conference while Acting Vice Chancellor Derrick Armstrong looks on, at USP in Suva. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

University of the South Pacific pro-chancellor Winston Thompson says he does not support the council’s decision to reinstate vice-chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia but he was prepared to work with him.

“I have worked with him since the beginning and with these things you might have differences but you work within the terms of reference that you operate under,” he said.

“I had been part of the meetings that caused his suspension but I was not present when the decision to reinstate him (Prof Ahluwalia) was made.

“I don’t agree with the decision by the council but it has powers to make the decisions it made.”

When asked whether he was implicated by the BDO New Zealand report Mr Thompson said he was aware of it and the matter was presently before the USP Council.

“The BDO report has been submitted to the council at a special council meeting in Nadi in August last year and the council considered that report before coming to some decisions while those decisions are in the process of being implemented,” he said.

“As far as I am concerned the issues that were on the BDO report have been dealt with and is now history.

“What we have been talking about are the current fresh allegations before the council against Prof Ahluwalia, and because the BDO report has been dispensed, it is now history and, therefore, no longer needs to be raised.

“I was mentioned in the report but I was not given a chance to explain these allegations and they were comparatively minor.”

Meanwhile, when approached yesterday for a comment Prof Ahluwalia said he was happy to be back in office following the council’s decision to reinstate him.

Prof Ahluwalia said he could not comment further on developments at the university as the USP Council was scheduled to meet next week.

“I am not at liberty to comment on the issues,” he said.

When asked about the council meeting scheduled for next week, Mr Thompson said he was not aware of it since he had been excluded from last week’s meeting.

He said he was told the council had not completed its meeting.

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