Former acting Permanent Secretary Basundra Kumar says it is her "first victory" and "justice is now coming my way" as she welcomed the Fijian Government's decision to accept her request to withdraw her resignation and investigate her on allegations of breach of the Public Service Code. She has also called on the Public Service Commission (PSC) to handle the investigation and keep the Ministry of Education out of it voicing fears of possible manipulation by the ministry.
"Let the truth prevail," Kumar said. In a release issued today about the decision to accept Kumar's request, the Fijian Government had said her successor, Kelera Taloga will make the final decision based on the investigation committee's recommendation, but Kumar says "it must not go to her." "She is still working under under the Minister," Kumar said.
"The Ministry of Education should not be involved. I want the Minister of PSC to receive and handle the report. I would also want the [school] saga to be opened and everyone who was called up to give a report be called up again. "I welcome the move. I have given 26 years of my loyal service, and then for someone to say that I'm done and dusted with no respect for the years of service I have given, I was shattered."
Kumar says allegations made against her follows a phone call she made to a department head of a school near Nausori which her daughter attended as a Year 13 student last year to voice her concerns about the students' Maths mark including her daughter's who had failed her Math exam, days leading up to the Year 13 external exams. She explained her daughter had informed her that a substitute teacher that had taken over her Math class had told students she had no subject knowledge. "I called the HOD to tell him that he was not doing his duty to monitor the performance of teachers' and report on it and for having delegated classes to a person who was incapable to do the work." "Little did I know, the phone conversation was recorded and later circulated around."
Kumar maintained she was executing her powers as Acting PS of Education to arrest the problem not only for her daughter's sake but for other students taught by the substitute teacher. "I can afford to put my daughter into tutorial. In fact she is, but what about the rest of the students affected. Must they suffer the same. I was carrying out my duties as Acting PS and as a parent. "There is nothing wrong there."
Kumar also voiced her disappointment there was no formal word relayed to her on today's decision. "I had to find out through the media. When they decided to suspend me, there were at my house within half-an-hour to deliver a letter informing me that I had been indefinitely suspended for something that had happened three months earlier. "I can't understand why they cannot do the same when they made the decision to accept my request." Kumar says as per her contract as acting PS, if she resigns, she has a 30-day notice window which means she stays on till January 29 this year.
She said she resigned under duress.
Meanwhile, in the statement, the Fijian Government said it would not make further comment on the issue to allow for the investigation to take its course. Any further comment will await a final decision to be made at the conclusion of the investigation. Read more at: http://fijilive.com/news/2015/01/let-the-truth-prevail-basundra-welcomes-investigation/60224.Fijilive