Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Two heads at Customs confuse staff

EMPLOYEES of the Customs Service are confused over the existence of two commissioners in the organisation since Oct 27 last year, The National reports.
The confusion stemmed from a National Gazette (No.G381), purportedly issued by Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio on Dec 29, recognising a Ray Paul as the acting commissioner of Customs ahead of caretaker commissioner John Pomoso.
The gazette, a copy of which was obtained by The National, stated that Paul was appointed on Oct 27 last year and would act in the position for three months until a substantive appointment was made.
Sources said the appointment superseded Pomoso who was verbally appointed to the office by the National Executive Council on the recommendation of former commissioner Gary Juffa.
The sources said any transactions, agreements and decisions entered into by Pomoso on behalf of Customs “are technically not binding”.
Pomoso acknowledged receiving a copy of the gazette and said the same notice would have revoked his acting appointment.
He said there was only one commissioner (acting) in Customs.
“Customs operations are not affected in any way, and work continues as normal.
“Customs staff have only reacted to the Gazette notice because it states that the acting appointment of Paul is for three months which lapsed last Friday and they are asking who is head of Customs if this is so,” he said.
“I think that is the only part that needs to be clarified and appropriately resolved for Customs, whether Paul can still act in the position after the three-month period lapsed,” he said.
But one senior source said the copy of the gazette on the appointment of Paul was never shown to them until last Friday, a day after Paul’s appointment had lapsed.
A circular released by Paul last Friday, with the Gazette, said in part: “I am deeply humbled to inform all executives, senior managers and staff of Customs that following recommendations by the minister of Public Service, the governor-general has confirmed my acting appointment to the position of the commissioner of Customs.
“Subsequent to this, John Pomoso is, as of 07.45 hours on Jan 27, 2012, now relieved from his recent responsibilities as caretaker commissioner of Customs,” the circular read.
Sources said the Gazette may be flawed because it was supposed to be effected by Ano Pala, who was acting GG between Dec 21 last year and Jan 19.
They said there was confusion among staff and urged the prime minister and NEC to act quickly to rectify the situation.

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