USP’s Pal Ahluwalia says he's victim of 'witch-hunt'

Thursday June 11, 2020 Written by RNZP Published in Small World
Professor Pal Ahluwalia has been appointed the new vice chancellor and president of the University of the South Pacific. Photo: University of Portsmouth Professor Pal Ahluwalia has been appointed the new vice chancellor and president of the University of the South Pacific. Photo: University of Portsmouth

The suspended Vice Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific believes he's a victim of a witch-hunt by the leadership group at the regional institution, RNZP reports.

On Tuesday, Pal Ahluwalia was dismissed over alleged material misconduct by the executive committee of the USP Council led by Pro Chancellor Winston Thompson.

The USP Council contains student, staff and government and donor representatives from around the region, including New Zealand and Australia.

Staff and students have threatened to walk out of the university in protest at what Nauru's president called the hijacking of USP's management.

There were protests at the main Suva campus this week as a year of tensions over allegations of corruption and employment issues came to a head.

And the man at the centre of it all said he believed his suspension had come following a paper he wrote to the USP Council outlining serious mismanagement and abuse of office involving his predecessor Rajesh Chandra and members of the council's leadership group.

But it was the three-person executive committee, or leadership group, within the Council of Mr Thompson, his deputy Aloma Johansson and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, Mahmood Khan, which moved to suspend the professor.

Suspension comes after misconduct claims

In March this year, Mr Thompson established a committee to look into the allegations of material misconduct being levelled against the VC.

Professor Ahluwalia said there were 26 allegations made against him by the executive committee.

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