USP Council yet to decide on contract of VC Ahluwalia

A USP Council Special Meeting has extended the appointment of Dr Giulio Paunga as Acting Vice-Chancellor & President as it awaits a Sub-Committee’s recommendations on the contract of Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia.

A statement from Council released after its meeting yesterday (Tuesday) said it was unable to consider further the matter of the contract of Professor Ahluwalia as the Sub-Committee is yet to present its recommendations to the Council.

The Sub-Committee is chaired by the President of Nauru, Lionel Aingimea  and includes the Council Representatives of Australia, Tonga, Niue, Solomon Islands, Samoa and two Senate Representatives.

The USP Council has also directed the Secretary to Council to refer the allegations of breach of the USP Council Code of Conduct along with the written responses from the ProChancellor & Chair of Council, Winston Thomson and the Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee, Mahmood Khan to the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee is required to provide recommendations to the Council no later than 30 March 2021.

Professor Ahluwalia and his partner Sandra Price remain in quarantine in Brisbane after they were deported on Thursday, 4 February by Immigration authorities in Fiji.

Fiji's Acting Director of Immigration Amelia Komaisavai signed a letter explaining that the government deemed Professor Ahluwalia to be "a person who is or has been conducting himself in a manner prejudicial to the peace, defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, security or good government of the Fiji Islands".

The Fiji government said the couple was deported for unspecified “repeated breaches” of the immigration act and their visa conditions.

Professor Ahluwalia who was appointed VC two years ago wrote a report detailing allegations of widespread financial mismanagement, abuse of entitlements, and millions of dollars improperly spent under previous administrations.


Photo file USP Lauacala Campus in Suva, Fiji