Cabinet has moved to stop the waste of public monies used to pay government officials who are suspended while being investigated for wrongdoing.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s administration has changed the rules with regards to the benefits received by any government employee who is suspended pending an investigation.
The change was confirmed in a Cabinet decision leaked to the Sunday Samoan, which highlights the concerns about thousands of taxpayer dollars being wasted every year on the issue.
The decision was made during a special Cabinet meeting on 9 December 2016 where Cabinet agreed to the following conditions for Heads of departments who are facing suspension.
“There must be a decision by Cabinet to confirm the suspension,” the Cabinet paper reads.
“An official can receive their full pay for a month starting from the date when Cabinet makes a decision to suspend."
“An official can only use their government assigned vehicle for one month from the date when Cabinet makes a decision."
“After a month, the payment of the salary will cease and the government vehicle must be returned to the Ministry.”
According to Cabinet, after the investigation, if the official is allowed to resume his/her duties, they are entitled to back pay, depending on however long they were suspended for.
However, if the allegation is proven and the official’s services are terminated, he/she will not be eligible to any benefits.
The same rule applies to all public servants.
The decision follows years of calls from Members of Parliament who were concerned about the public monies being wasted every time senior government officials are suspended.
In the not too distant past, some senior government officials were suspended for as long as six months and they were still entitled to the benefits including the use of government vehicles.