Cook Islands Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas told Radio NZ delays in completing the investigation were due to sourcing information from overseas, “competing priorities” and staffing issues.
He said other challenges involved determining technical aspects of fishery agreements and negotiations, and understanding country, regional and stakeholder positions as well as competing interests involved in the fisheries industry.
Ponia was suspended on full pay in April this year, pending the outcome of an investigation into a complaint against him.
CINews believes the complaint is related to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s meeting in Manila in December last year.
In a statement to this newspaper in April, Ponia’s lawyer, Brian Mason said: “Mr Ponia has been suspended on full pay and this is appropriate given the nature of the inquiry. Mr Ponia will cooperate fully with the Public Service Commissioner’s investigation”.
Thomas expects a summary of the findings will be made public rather than the full report.
-RK/Radio New Zealand