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No connection of Health Director’s Leave and PSC Investigation – Minister

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 05 MAY 2022: The Minister for Health, Valasi Luapitofanua Tafito Selesele has confirmed that the current investigation by the Public Service Commission into the procurement of a CT scanner for the Ministry of Health has no connection with the Director of Health Leausa Dr.Take Naseri taking leave.

Valasi told the media outside Parliament today that Leausa has untaken leave entitlement that he has requested to take.

“Leausa just returned from a medical check overseas and I signed the papers endorsing his request for leave,” said the Minister.

He also confirmed that Leausa will return to work before his contract ends on 22 May 2022.

“His leave of absence has nothing to do with the investigation,” he said.

Leausa is part of the PSC investigation into the procurement of the Computer Tomography (CT) Scanner for the Ministry and the delay in installation.

The investigation was directed by Cabinet last month and the PSC report was expected to be tabled last week.

Valasi confirmed that PSC did seize Leausa’s computer hard-drive as part of their investigation while he was in New Zealand.

“PSC can have access to all Government properties needed in their investigation such as the computer hard-drive,” said the Minister.

He said Leausa’s absence did not stop the investigation and his hard-drive had since been returned.

CT Scanner yet to be installed
Today, Valasi said the CT scanner arrived on 6 April 2022. However, it cannot be installed as the technician had not arrived.

“I ordered the Ministry not to open anything until the technician arrives on 14 May 2022,” said Valasi.

The CT scanner is funded by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and the Minister of ACC, Leatinuu Wayne Sooialo told Parliament in January that the scanner was expected to arrive in February.

Samoa has been without a CT scanner for two years and had been sending patients to American Samoa and New Zealand for this service.