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By Litia Cava in Suva

University of the South Pacific staff say they are happy with the USP Council’s decision to reinstate Professor Pal Ahluwalia as vice-chancellor and president, according to staff union general secretary Ilima Finiasi.

However, he said, they expected council to follow through with how the BDO New Zealand report alleging irregular university finances and remuneration policies would be handled.

“I think everyone was pretty happy that the council has decided that Professor Pal will return to office,” he said.

READ MORE: Special reports on the USP leadership crisis

Finiasi said it was “rather disappointing” to see how Professor Ahluwalia has been treated, compared with those who were implicated in the BDO report.

“That was really unfair, in terms of the events which began last week, when everyone was made aware of the accusations against Professor Pal and, at the same time, his suspension — we can really see the unfairness on how this whole thing turned out.

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“But as I said, we have full confidence in our council so we will let the council decide and there will be more work for them to sort through and we are happily waiting for that to come through.”

Finiasi said that following the release of the BDO report, the union had requested those who were named in it to “do the right thing”.

“I think the union, from the start of this whole thing, requested that anyone who has been implicated, they should be allowed to step down, pending investigations, but that did not happen.

“We respect the work of the council, we have full confidence in our leaders of the region and that is already before the council.

“You might be aware that the council themselves have selected a commission to look at the BDO report and to also recommend how the BDO report should be implemented and with total respect, we will allow the council to continue with their work.”

Litia Cavea is a Fiji Times reporter.

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