Kevin O’Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer for Digicel was ordered to leave the country immediately by David Tibu because he did not have a proper working permit to be in Papua New Guinea. Mr. O’Sullivan and 4 of his colleague where asked to depart PNG by the Secretary of Labour and Industrial Relations.
Now, I am not a great fan of Digicel even though I have to do business with them, but I think Mr. Tibu must be on a witch hunt here. There are so many illegal immigrants in Papua New Guinea and many of them are operating businesses which are reserved for nationals to do. Yet, Mr. Secretary has turned a blind eye and decided to go after someone who is generating a lot of growth in the economy.
A copy of Mr. Tibu’s letter was sent to Mr. Peter Loko who is the Chief Executive Officer for Telikom, Digicel’s main competitor and rival. Now that raises the question of why Telikom was copied on this letter. If it was all about breaching working permits, I don’t see any point Telikom needs to be copied.
Digicel CEO ordered to leave
Labour and Industrial Relations Secretary David Tibu has ordered Digicel’s chief executive officer Kevin O’Sullivan to leave the country immediately.
He has also ordered five senior expatriates of the Irish-owned mobile phone company working in East New Britain to leave.
Mr O’Sullivan is overseas until later this week but it is not clear if he left because of the order or because of his own plans.
It is understood Mr Tibu has issued the orders in a letter signed by himself because Mr Sullivan and his colleagues were allegedly working in the country without having proper work permits.
Labour Department yesterday confirmed a letter was written to Mr O’Sullivan and his officers but could not further comment on the issue as it was the duty of Mr Tibu to officially comment.
Labour also confirmed the letter was delivered to the company executives but could not detail the date of departure. The Post-Courier contacted Mr Tibu while he was having his New Year function yesterday but he refused to comment.
It is understood the letter has also been delivered to Industrial and Relations Minister Mark Maipakai for consideration.
Mr O’Sullivan is understood to be aware of the orders. It is not known if the other five are still in PNG.
Digicel permit ‘breach’DIGICEL chief executive officer Kevin O’Sullivan yesterday refused outright to reveal how he came into Papua New Guinea to do business without a work permit.
Mr O’Sullivan, who came into the country a few months ago, is wanted by the Labour Department for conducting business and working without a proper work permit.
But Digicel executives (named) told the Post-Courier yesterday Mr O’Sullivan and the other expatriates had valid business visas. However, the Foreign Affairs office advised work permits were given before business visas were issued and that business visas varied.
The Post-Courier called Mr O’Sullivan three times in his Fiji apartment but he refused to comment, adding he had not received or seen the letter from the Labour Department wanting him to show cause.
Mr O’Sullivan has denied revealing how he entered the country without a work permit, as he tried to solve the issue in “confidential” talks with Labour and Industrial Relations Minister Mark Maipakai.
However, Mr Maipakai has over-ridden his department secretary David Tibu’s advice not to accept any pleas from the controversial mobile phone company.
Mr O’Sullivan confirmed yesterday “we are at open discussions with the minister”.
A COPY of Mr Tibu’s letter dated December 21 obtained by the Post-Courier and also sent to Telikom CEO Peter Loko, the Chief Secretary Issac Lupari, and Chief Ombudsman Ila Geno stated Mr O’Sullivan and Mr Maipakai had a discussion on that issue last month.
Thus, Mr Tibu appealed to Mr Maipakai stating: “My Good Minister, I appeal to you for your support and that we are united in our stand to weed out from this country, illegal foreign workers. Please allow the show cause process to be completed before any appeals to the Office of the Minister, is allowed to be made.”
Mr O’Sullivan was asked if he had discussions with Mr Maipakai and he admitted: “Yes, we had discussions”. Asked what they discussed, he said: “That would be confidential between us and the minister. I am not going to make any comments to the newspaper because it’s professional to conduct my business with the minister.”
Asked if he had received a letter notifying him and his staff to show cause, he said: “You got the letter before I did so I won’t make any comments until I see the letter.”
Mr Tibu’s letter said: “First, let me explain that as an administrative function by law, I have issued a Show Cause letter to Digicel on 7 Dec 2007, as to why the nine female employees were terminated from their jobs on 22 November 2007 by the financial controller (named) who had no valid work permit to be working in PNG. Due to the nature of the matter, we wanted to hand deliver the show cause letter to Digicel’s head office in Gordon,” Mr Tibu stated.
He added: “Digicel refused to receive the letter at the gate, four times on Monday 10 Dec, 2007. In the end, we had to post it at the Port Moresby Post Office.”
Thus, Labour delivered another Show Cause letter, because Digicel was treating the department with contempt, Mr Tibu stated.
“Digicel has not complied with the requirements for foreign employment in this country. Indeed we have penalised the first nine non-citizen employees for working in the country whilst on Business Visas. This is illegal and it shows that Digicel has no respect for our labour laws. We have been reliably informed that there are many Digicel employees working whilst on business visas, which needs further investigation.”