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Chair quits in clash

Thursday July 09, 2020 Written by Published in Politics
Kopu Anguna. 18070808 Kopu Anguna. 18070808

Minister George Maggie faces criticism from resigned public sector chair for ‘undermining board’. 

The chairperson of the Business Trade Investment Board says the minister’s constant undermining of the board led to her resignation.

Kopu Anguna stepped down from the role on May 18 this year. Her resignation was raised in Parliament yesterday by Matavera MP Vaitoti Tupa.

Anguna said she left the job due to a prolonged period of “frustration with the undermining of the board meted out by the minister”.

George Angene yesterday dismissed her claim, saying Anguna resigned of her own accord.

Angene earlier told Parliament he rejected some of Anguna’s proposals and ideas because, “I don’t work along family lines, I conduct my work true and right before my God and my people”.

Kopu Anguna claimed there were several decisions that the minister authorised without properly consulting the board.

“A new staff structure was introduced and endorsed by the Minister, had no strategic proposal to base it on. In that structure staff were unhappy because they were being demoted. They left for other jobs, or just left, or were sacked,” Anguna said.

“No advertisement for new staff replacement has been undertaken which was again endorsed by the Minister.”

At present, she said, the Business Trade Investment Board is operating with a minimal number of “overworked” staff. Anguna also said consultants were brought in.

A Business Trade Investment Board Recovery Plan was directed by the Minister to be established and a board member became one of the paid consultants on that team, she claimed.

“When asked, the Minister said that he made this appointment, which BTIB has to pay.”

On May 18, before tendering her resignation, Anguna said the board was summoned to a special meeting with Minister George Angene.

“Upon my arrival and one other board member, we were told by the front desk that we were confirmed to be the only two board members who were attending. “In my capacity as chair I called the meeting off and declared that there was no quorum.”

Anguna said she rang Minister Angene a little later to see if he wanted to talk with her.

“He said ‘no’ and that was it. I haven’t spoken to him since that day.”

Minister Angene said he preferred listening to the views of all the board members instead of the chairperson.

He also said the reports from the board meetings were not relayed to him on a timely manner. “Her job is to chair the meeting. She shouldn’t be giving or making orders and decisions. I want to listen to the board members, not the chairperson only.”

Minister Angene also confirmed he had not responded to Anguna’s resignation letter.

Kopu Anguna said: “her actions and concerns were purely to urge the Minister to do the right thing for his own sake and for the integrity of Business Trade Investment Board”.

Danny Mataroa has taken over as Board chair. The board also comprises directors Jaewynn McKay, Paul Allsworth and Jude Isaia, and new appointed Isaia Willie.