TBC boss’s contract termination big mistakes, lawyer says as legal action launched

The lawyer for Tonga Broadcasting Commission general manager Nanisē Fifita told Nepituno webpage the termination of his client’s contract was a big mistake and should be corrected.

Lawyer William Clive Edwards said he had launched legal action against the government after the Minister of Public Enterprise terminated Fifita’s renewed contract yesterday.

It has been reported that Fifita’s renewed contract was revoked and that she was told to continue working as Acting General Manager.

It was unclear this evening whether she was still working for TBC  without any contract as she has sought legal action shortly after her contract was terminated. She has yet to respond to our request for comment.

Former TBC board chair Tapu Panuve confirmed to Kaniva News this morning his role with the board had ended.

He said he was thankful there had been an opportunity for him to help.

In Tongan he said: “Kuo ngata ‘eku fakahoko fatongia ‘i he TBC pea ‘oku ou fakafeta’i pe he ma’u faingamalie ke fai ha tokoni”.

As we reported last night he was replaced by ‘Ahongalu Fusimalohi.

We understand a TBC board meeting this morning was chaired by  Fusimalohi.

Fifita’s contract was renewed about a week ago by the Board after it sought advice from government lawyers.

The committee found the contract contained a clause which allowed it to be renewed automatically when Fifita’s term was due to expire.

But the Minister reportedly said that under the law the renewal of her contract should have been first referred to him.

He claimed that as the Minister responsible for the TBC board he had the power to renew or terminate her contract.

Tight lipped

The government had stayed tight lipped over the episode since it leaked to media yesterday afternoon.

Taimi ‘o Tonga newspaper reported this morning Fifita was sacked, “fakanofo.”

The paper’s publisher, Kalafi Moala, said his reliable source said Fifita’s renewed contract was revoked.

“But, they asked her to keep working as Acting GM,” Moala said.

“My guess is that they want her to keep working until they find someone to take over, or they come to a conclusion of what to do with TBC”.

He said he suspected the government was trying to avoid a lawsuit.

“We ran a lead story on today’s Taimi (already distributed in Auckland) that Nanise has been fired “Fakanofo” but the twist to it is that her contract was revoked and she is still working as Acting GM without a contract”, Moala said.

“If she sues the Government, it will be because of the termination of her contract renewal.”

Kakalu ‘o Tonga newspaper also reported this morning that Fifita’s contract agreement was terminated but said she is being allowed to work without a contract.

The main points

  • The lawyer for Tonga Broadcasting Commission general manager Nanisē Fifita told Nepituno web page the termination of his client’s contract was a big mistakes and should be corrected.
  • William Clive Edwards said he had launched legal action against the government after the Minister of Public Enterprise terminated Fifita’s renewed contract yesterday.
  • Fifita’s contract was renewed about a week ago by the Board after it sought advice from government lawyers.
  • But the Minister reportedly said that under the law the renewal of her contract should have been first referred to him.

For more information

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