Report into USP mismanagement allegations due next month

USP campus, Laucala Bay ... the report into alleged abuses is due August 16. Image: Island Business

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

A report on the alleged mismanagement and abuse charges at the University of the South Pacific is due by August 16, reports Islands Business.

New Zealand accounting firm BDO Auckland has been selected to conduct the special investigation in response to allegations of speedy appointments and contract renewals as well as issues with staff salary under the former vice-chancellor.

The investigation was called for by the University Council, staff and the New Zealand government.

READ MORE: USP rocked by appointments, contract ‘abuse’ allegations

Islands Business reports that USP’s audit and risk committee (ARC) met last week on Tuesday to evaluate bids to conduct the special investigation from three Auckland firms.

A fourth firm was invited to tender, but did not do so.

“The three bids were put through a rigorous evaluation by the members of the ARC using the structured evaluation template that was included in the bid document and [the] ARC selected BDO Auckland as the successful bidder,” a USP statement said.

The USP ARC also confirmed that its chairman, Mahmood Khan, declared a conflict of interest at the start of the bidding process and excused himself from the meeting room. Khan retired as a partner/director of BDO Northland (NZ) on 31 December 2016.

Staff of USP at the university’s main campus in Suva have called for USP Pro Chancellor Winston Thompson to step aside to allow for the investigation to proceed independently.

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