By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2017: Police officers in de-facto relationships and are both working at the Ministry of Police will have to decide who will continue serving in the force and who will leave by 31 December 2017.
This is part of major reforms in the Ministry to improve performance and avoid conflicts of interest in the face of major problems in the service recently.
“For security, a married couple should never work together, and if a de-facto partner works there too, then it means a man and his two wives are all working together at the Ministry and I believe that has been a contributing factor to the problems within the Ministry of Police,” said the Prime Minister and the Minister of Police, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
He said such issues should have been addressed and resolved sooner and he blamed past Police Commissioners for allowing such things to happen.
He said an organization or ministry will never operate smoothly if a married couple are both employees there, and that was why Government decided to pull the plug.
“It does not matter if it was their own family business where they can do family things together but not to apply it in the workplace,” he said.
In December last year, Tuilaepa took over the Ministry’s portfolio after the Commissioner was reinstated following a major conflict with senior officers and other sections of the ministry. He then issued a directive informing the Ministry of the Government’s decision.
Married couples including senior officers who have children working in the Ministry will have to decide who to stay and who will walk as of 31 December 2017.
He said this will avoid any conflicts of interest.
This somehow raised complaints from several of the 25 married police couples about de-facto police officers.
It is not known if there would be compensation for police officers now holding senior ranks but may choose to leave due to this requirement.
‘It has been a year now since the decision has been announced and they (couples) have been asked to find new jobs,” said Tuilaepa.