Suspended MOH, ACEO charged for alleged misconduct


Ministry of Health’s ACEO, Agnes Stowers, accused of falsifying documents that led to awarding of a $48,000 tala contract to her father-in-law’s company has tendered her resignation letter.

This was after the Public Service Commission charged Stowers with alleged misconduct, last week Thursday.

The charges and resignation was confirmed by Minister of Health, Valasi Tafito Selesele in response to questions from Radio Polynesia yesterday. 

Stowers was placed on suspension by Cabinet two weeks ago pending the Public Service Commission investigation, after 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.

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

Emails to the PSC Chair, Lauano Vaosa Epa were not answered but the Minister of Health confirmed that it’s been relayed to him, that Stowers resigned a day after PSC charged her under the Public Service Act 2004.

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 and the Internal Audit stepped in for a review.

As reported earlier, Lauano said their investigation commenced 21 February 2022 and is ongoing. 

The Internal Audit Report noted that it was endorsed by the Principal Maintenance Officer in support of payment to the Company, stating 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.

Furthermore the report says the quotation of $48,300 was to pay for labor as the material of paint and new screen wires were supplied by the Ministry of Health.

The Internal Audit further claims 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.

The 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.