PSC rejects MOH, ACEO’s resignation


The Public Service Commission has rejected the resignation of Assistant CEO of the  Ministry of Health Agnes Stowers after she was administratively charged for alleged misconduct.

Stowers, accused of falsifying documents that led to awarding of a $48,000 tala contract to her father-in-law’s company, has been suspended pending an investigation by the PSC.

The Minister of Health, Valasi Tafito Selesele confirmed the rejection and stated the resignation should have been directed to the Ministry of Health, not the PSC.

Valasi confirmed the PSC denied Stower’s resignation letter and this is outlined in correspondence from the PSC earlier this week informing him of what occurred.

As reported earlier a Ministry of Health’s Internal Audit cited the ACEO in question for conflict of interest and claims the familial ties were not disclosed nor did she take the steps to avoid it.

Stowers however is disputing the Health’s Internal Audit report noting she “disagrees” with the report,” in an earlier interview with Radio Polynesia.

An Internal Audit Report dated 21 November 2021 obtained by Radio Polynesia, says this came to light after the Health Management queried the condition of the work conducted by Transworks Company.

The Internal Auditor stepped in and the involvement of Ms. Stowers with the preparation and following up on payment was also questioned as during verification of payment documentation the Audit uncovered that Transworks is owned by Ms. Stowers’ Father in law, which the Auditor claims she did not disclose.

Also, the $48,300 was to pay for labor as the materials were provided by the Ministry.

The work outlined the scope of work is interior painting and replacement of screen wires for the staff residence building through quote and procurement process. 

The inspection report endorsed by the Principal Maintenance Officer in support of payment to the Company stated the work was completed and satisfactory. 

However, the Internal Audit inspection with the Principal Maintenance Officer confirmed the works were incomplete in accordance with the agreed scope of work which indicated there should be three coats of paints and to replace screen wires. 

The inspection found there was one coat of paint that was applied and that damaged screen wires on the top floor were not replaced.  

The internal auditor report says Transworks company claims the scope of works indicated that one coat of paint is to be applied and that only damaged screen wires were to be replaced.