Telecom Niue has come under heavy scrutiny at this year’s last sitting of the Fono Ekepule today. Common Roll Member Richard Hipa probed for answers to some of the operational delays and procurement practices of the island’s largest state-owned enterprise.
MLA Richard Hipa asked questions of the Minister of SOEs Premier Dalton Tagelagi on the operations of the state-owned enterprise including the reasons for the delays on the execution of the Manatua which has been postponed again until the end of January next year.
Premier Tagelagi in response said that the delays to the Manatua cable is due to the multi-country deal with which this venture was initiated.
He also introduced the Telecom Board of Directors which is still being chaired by Avi Rubin and the other old board member Ian Fitzgerald who is based in New Zealand. The two new board members approved by Cabinet last week lawyer Sinahemana Hekau and IT businessman Dessyo Sioneholo.
Another question for the Premier was on who will pay for the $39,000 charged for fumigation and cleaning of a ditch witch heavy machinery purchased by Telecom Niue earlier this year.
Richard Hipa continued to probe on the procurement process of Telecom Niue and how they are able to purchase multiple vehicles including a fleet of 4 x 4 double cab trucks and heavy machineries such as a hiab truck and a ditch witch digger. Common Roll member Hipa asked the Premier what the role of the Board of Directors is in the procurement process of Telecom Niue.
The Premier was not able to provide the answers to this question and asked that he be given time to present the response.
Richard Hipa is a former Director of the government’s telecommunications and postal services before he moved on to be the Secretary to Government in 2008.
Telecom Niue Ltd is a registered company with the government’s Minister of Finance Hon. Crossley Tatui its sole shareholder.