No Conflict of Interest: PSC

The appointment of the Commissioner of Labour is based on merit.

Chairman of Public Service Commission (PSC) Martin Mahe stressed this when he told Daily Post yesterday that the new Commissioner of Labour was not part of the Recruitment Panelists who interviewed applicants for the Commissioner of Labour position.

The chairman was responding to Mrs Jenny Ligo, Chairlady of the Women against Crime and Corruption (WACC) who accused the PSC of adopting favouritism, nepotism and cronyism in making director positions early last week.

“An urgent investigation must be carried out to see if the PSC recruitment processes is transparent, accountable and follows the rule of law,” said Mrs. Ligo.

The accusations come on the heels of Daily Post’s front page article last Friday under the headline “Corruption will not be tolerated” which carried the Commissioner of Labour (COL), Muriel Metsan Meltenoven’s remarks on discipline and assurance that her team will ensure that employees receive their work benefits.

Mrs. Ligo went one step further to question how Mrs Meltenoven was selected as the Commissioner of Labour.

She said when applicants for the position of COL were interviewed last year, Mrs Meltenoven was part of the Recruitment Panelists sitting in as the PSC Compliance Manager and Acting PSC Secretary-General.

“By sitting in the Recruitment Panel, she received comparative advantage by listening to all the responses given to her by the applicants who were interviewed for this position,” Mrs. Ligo stated.

“Did she apply for the COL position? Why did she not declare her conflict of interest if she was interested in the COL position? Why did she not allocate another PSC Officer to be on the recruitment panel? Was she interviewed by a recruitment panel?”

Mrs. Ligo claims that in some cases when the recruitment panels make recommendations on the best candidates for the positions, the PSC does not comply with these recommendations but recruits less qualified people in their place.

Under the Right to Information Legislations, Mrs Ligo is asking the PSC to provide a report on the appointments of all directors based on the recommendations of the recruitment panellists and if these were not complied with, what are the reasons for non-compliance.

But the Chairman has dismissed the allegations, saying Mrs. Meltenoven was not part of the panel that interviewed candidates applying for the position of Commissioner of Labour to which she was the successful candidate.

Mr. Mahe clarified that in May 2018, Mrs. Meltenoven, who was employed as the Compliance Officer within the PSC and also the Acting Secretary General of PSC at the time was part of the panel who considered nominees for the position of Commissioner of Labour.

However, when the panel recommended the nominees for the COL position the PSC was not satisfied with the nominees, following its external investigation into the recommended candidates.

The COL position was then re-advertised.

Prior to the re-advertisement of this position, Meltenoven was appointed Acting Commissioner of Labour.

Chairman Mahe said she spent six months in the acting position. “Mrs. Meltenoven applied for the position while she was the Acting Commissioner of Labour and she was not part of the panel as alleged,” he said.

Her initial appointment as Acting Commissioner of Labour was to review the Employment Act.

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