Sasako questions the basis for Colin Yow’s compensation claims

SASAKOFORMER Government consultant Alfred Sasako has questioned the basis for compensation claims by disgraced CEO of Solomon Islands Ports Authority, Colin Yow.

Mr Yow told Island Sun newspaper that there was no basis for his dismissal. His sacking by the SIPA Board was upheld by the Solomon Islands High Court in its ruling on Friday 29th April 2016. The ruling barred Mr Yow from entering premises owned and controlled by SIPA.

Alfred said Mr Yow ought to be reminded that to push his claim for SBD36 million compensation for alleged wrongful dismissal through the Hon Minister for Infrastructure Development, Hon Jimmy Lusibaea, may not have a basis in law.

“Yes, the Hon Minister does have assigned responsibilities over SIPA, but that does not extend into employment contract. Executive appointments to SIPA are done by the Board, not the Minister,” Alfred said.

“To demand as he has done the Minister for Infrastructure Development to push his claim for payment within 72 hours is a wishful thinking. It shows how much Mr Yow understands the parameters of responsibilities demarcated by law.

“On the other side of the coin I am not surprised at all that Mr Yow has staked the claim. The man has established a track record for disregarding lawful orders,” Alfred said.

“I wonder what the police in this country are doing about the man whose demand for payment has the potential to pull down a legitimately elected government,” he said.

Alfred said the grounds for Mr Yow’s dismissal had been spelt out in his termination letter dated 24 April 2016. He was fired for “non-compliance and insubordination.”

Here’s what the dismissal letter said.

“… it was resolved that your employment with the Solomon Islands Ports Authority be terminated forthwith on the following grounds (italics mine):

  1. A) Non-compliance with the Resolutions of the Board of Directors on April 12 2016 in that:
  1. a) You have failed to produce to the Board by April 22 2016, a draft Statement of Corporate Objectives of the Authority for the Financial year commencing October 1, 2015 and ending 30 September 2016 for presentation to the Accountable Ministers in accordance with Section 13 of the State Owned Enterprises Act;
  1. b) You have failed to produce to the Board by April 22, 2016, a draft Accounting and Financial Procedures Manual for the Solomon Islands Ports Authority;
  1. c) You have failed to cease forthwith from promoting, advertising, selling or trading of SIPA rice but have instead actively promoted selling, trading and advertising of SIPA Rice;
  1. d) You have failed to liaise with the relevant Government Ministries, including the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health, to cause all SIPA Rice currently in stock to be inspected for their suitability to be consumed and present a report of such inspection to the Board;
  1. e) You have failed to cause the Authority, including its responsible officers, to remove all banners and billboard advertisements promoting the sale of SIPA Rice by April 22, 2016;
  1. f) You have failed to provide to the Board a financial account (record) of funds received from rice sales, including funds that may be owing to SIPA through credit arrangements, by April 22, 2016;
  1. g) You have failed to provide an account (value of all unsold rice) to the Board by April 22, 2016;
  1. h) You have failed to instruct Pilots not possessing proper Licences issued by the Pilotage Board from boarding any domestic vessels for purposes of arriving at and departing from the domestic wharves;
  1. i) You have failed to compile, document and produce to the Board, the REFORM Document containing the reforms currently undertaken and proposed to be undertaken by SIPA. For the avoidance of doubt, the Board has resolved that the “reforms” as contained in the Power Point Presentations, or a printed version of that Power Point Presentation, is not a REFORM Document;
  1. j) You have failed to produce to the Board by April 22, 2016, a list of all equipment, together with costings, purchased or to be purchased under its CAPEX, Budget for the Financial Year ending September 31, 2016;
  1. k) You have failed to produce to the Board by April 22, 2016 signed Minutes and Resolutions of all Board Meetings conducted during the period commencing January 2014 and ending January 30, 2016 in relation to:

(i)         Authorising the Authority to engage in the business of importing and selling of rice;

(ii)        Authorising the Authority to engage in the business of civil aviation, in particular:

(a)       Any resolution authorising the payment of a deposit for the proposed Twin-Otter aircraft;

(b)       Any resolution authorising the amount of USD200, 000 or any amount to be remitted to the supplier of the aircraft;

  1. l) You have failed to produce to the Board by April 22, 2016, copies each of the Contract entered into by SIPA with the supplier of the aircraft, including any Orders for purchase, invoices and documents accompanying the remittance of funds to the supplier of the aircraft;

(m)      You have failed to write a letter of apology to the Board and Management of Solomon Airlines Limited, and copy of such letter to be furnished to the Board by April 22, 2016;

(n)       You have failed to conduct yourself properly in a manner such as to not bring the reputation of the Authority, the Board and its officers into disrepute and public ridicule;

(o)       You have failed to issue a written apology to the General Manager of GPPOL apologizing for the unsubstantiated allegations regarding transfer pricing and for the wrong description of GPPOL as being wholly foreign-owned;

(p)       You have failed to provide a written apology to GPPOL to the Board by April 22 2016;

(q)       You are grossly incompetent in your duties as CEO in that you have caused to declare $10, 000, 000.00 (ten million dollars) as a Dividend Payment to the Government and did pay such Dividend, (with or without the Board Approval) when the Audited Financials for the financial year from which the Dividend was paid out of, were not audited and signed off by the Auditor General of Solomon Islands.

Alfred said if these are not legitimate grounds for dismissing the man, we have a problem on our hands.