Lolo: Several former deputies heavily aided in corruption
Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has defended the move by Human Resources Director Le’i Sonny Thompson to remove Ulugaono Waldie Allen as Deputy Director of Human Resources, with the new administration.
Lolo said, during a press conference last week that discrepancies were revealed during the transition period, where there were a lot of promotions approved by the former HR Deputy, yet they were not budgeted.
Last week Le’i clarified to Samoa News that currently Ulugaono is not a Deputy Director with HR, but he was in the previous administration.
The HR director was responding to a report by another news outlet that for “the first time the DHR has two deputy directors… the other being Ulugaono Waldie Allen, who had been deputy director for some time.”
At the time, Le’i was defending the rehiring of Mrs. Eseneiaso Liu to the post of HR Deputy Director for the Personnel Division on a $60,000 contract, after she retired in February 2013. Mrs. Liu was the second deputy director the news outlet was referencing.
At the press conference, the Governor noted the move to remove “several” deputy directors from their positions, which he felt “heavily contributed to the corruption that was taking place in the previous administration.”
Lolo further stated the Human Resources Department was highly involved in this issue.
“They (HR) approved promotions that were done without authority, there were five Departments, and I strongly advised (HR) to find a ways to remove those people, I don’t want those people to have the power to repeat the same, but we were trying to find ways to deal with the law on those issues.
“For instance, the deputy (Director) involved in approving a promotion from 38,000 to 48,000 in the last day of the previous administration — so those are the type of cases that I’m trying to avoid repeating,” the governor said.
(Samoa News understands the $38,000 to $48,000 salary that was rolled back was a Commander with the Department of Public Safety.)
Lolo said, among the departments, which he directed the “Deputy Directors” be removed from their positions, are DHR, Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, and Department of Health. Lolo said, upon viewing the transition from each department, salary boosts were uncovered.
“I have to react on those things, they (Directors) were given the order to get another person to line up for these jobs,” he stated.
The governor said currently the government is in the process of removing the deputies to other positions. “That office (DHR) was heavily involved in doing that, they approved promotions, all kinds of personnel actions illegally,” he said. Samoa News, asked if the governor was referring to Ulugaono, and he replied, “…Yes Ulugaono”.
Le’i told Samoa News last week that upon completion of the new “organizational chart” HR is working on, he will appoint another Deputy Director for Employment and Training, in due time. “Ulugaono, the previous Deputy Director, is a career service employee and is protected under the career service employment status and he will serve out his remaining years before exiting through retirement or resignation; whichever and whenever he finds it deemed necessary,” he said.
Samoa News contacted Ulugaono on numerous occasions, and also left messages with the Human Resources Department since Thursday last week, however as of press time, there was no response.
During the first cabinet meeting, where the media was invited, the governor noted that as part of the solution to the shortfall in terms of money, he has assigned directors of the departments of Treasury, Budget and Human Resources, to work on the process to roll back personnel actions that were conducted during the last months of the campaign season.
“I have them looking into this issue, and if it’s not in compliance with the law, we will have to roll back the salary. We cannot violate the law by [using] a higher salary that is not budgeted,” he said at the time. The governor noted "a couple of salaries increased from $28,000 to $38,000 in DPS and yet nothing was budgeted into FY 2013 and therefore, it’s a roll back."