Photo: RNZ / Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor

Questions have been raised over a series of appointments to the position of Director of Planning, Policy and Corporate Services of the Ministry of Health (MOH) in October 2019.

MAV Freelance Consultant, Jeffery Toa expressed this to the chairman of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee, MP Ephraim Kalsakau on Saturday.

 “It is with great concern that I am raising the series of appointments made by the Government through the Public Service Commission (PSC) to one position for Director for Planning, Policy and Corporate Services within the MoH,” Mr Toa stated.

“On the 16th of February 2018 after a proper recruitment process, the Government had appointed Dr Samuel Posikai Tapo to this position.

“On the 24th of September 2019, the government transferred Dr. Tapo to the position for director of the Department of Youth and Sports Development within the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Dr Tapo was only on the position as director for planning in the Ministry of Health for 19 months only. 

“On the 4th of October 2019, the government revoked its decision to transfer Dr Tapo to the position of director for the Department of Youth and Sports Development and appointed him Medical Superintendent for the Northern Provincial Hospital. The transfer was on the same salary level with the particulars of that position.

Mr Johnson Wabaiat was then appointed to the position for director of the Department of Planning, Policy and Corporate Services within the MoH, replacing Dr Tapo.

On the 14th of October 2019, the Supreme Court of Vanuatu nullified the decision of the government to appoint Mr Russel Tamata to the position for director of Hospitals and Curative Services within the MoH, a position which Mr Tamata did not apply for.

“On the 25th of October, after the government had learned of the Supreme Court ruling and implicating the Public Service Commission in its ethics as a good employer, the Government appointed Mr Tamata to the position of director of the Department of Planning, Policy and Corporate Services within the MoH.

“Mr Wabaiat was appointed to the position for director of the Hospitals and Curative Services on the same date.”

Mr Toa said the government had made a mockery of itself.

 “The Government is obliged to explain to the people of Vanuatu why it had acted in the manner it did… in a time when the MoH Executive has achieved so much development, accomplishments, policy formulations, human resource development, infrastructure and service improvements,” Mr Toa stated.

“The people need answers from the government on why it cannot comply with the Supreme Court orders.

“How does the government propose to compensate in the event that a major litigation arises due to the Commission not acting as a good employer in its exercise of its powers?”

He added it is the appropriate time for the Minister for Health to form the Health Service Commission.

PSC Chairman, Martin Mahe told Daily Post last week that PSC will appeal the Supreme Court decision to quash the appointment of Mr Tamata as Director of Curative and Hospital Services.

Mr Mahe said PSC was not satisfied with the candidates recommended for the position thus it chose Mr Tamata. 

He added the Commission has trust and confidence in Mr Tamata due to his “outstanding performance that was assessed through his mid-year review”.

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