Confusion over top cop’s job

Saturday November 03, 2018 Written by Published in Crime

Amid rumours this week that police commissioner Maara Tetava had quit his position, confusion remains regarding the status of his employment contract.


Police minister Vaine (Mac) Mokoroa said yesterday that according to his understanding, the commissioner’s term had ended on November 1.

However, in a letter to Mokoroa’s office yesterday, Tetava said his contract would end on December 1, 2018.

On Thursday in a meeting with the heads of the ministries under his portfolio and in the presence of a Cook Islands Police Association representative, Mokoroa announced that Tetava’s term as the Commissioner of Police had come to an end on November 1.

The minister said one of the first things he had done since taking over as Police minister was to seek clarification on the tenure of the police commissioner’s employment.

He said he had been told that Tetava’s contract would end on November 1, 2018.

“I did seek clarification from the PSC (Public Service Commission) office, from the commissioner’s office, and from the Prime Minister’s Office and the document that I found that came to light in terms of his tenure is that his term, according to the executive council, ends on November 1, 2018,” Mokoroa said.

The minister said that on October 17, he had sent an email to the police commissioner asking for a copy of his contract of employment.

He said the only reason why he asked for it was to determine the tenure of Tetava’s contract.

“Up till now I have not received a copy of that from him and it’s gone to a stage where now I need to be organised in terms of the continuation, as who will be taking charge of the office for the portfolio of the ministry,” Mokoroa said.

According to his understanding, Mokoroa said the tenure for police commissioner was five years plus a rollover of an extra two years.

However he said Tetava had served on the job for nine years.

“And my understanding is that he served the tenure of five years plus two years and another plus two years. So in all he has had nine years and I think Cabinet will be very reluctant to roll over his contract.”

Mokoroa also said that at his regular meeting which is attended by key members of the ministries he is in charge of, the police head staff were missing.

“I have not met the police staff until yesterday (Thursday) when I met, not with the police staff, but with the police association because the commissioner was unable to organise that for me, and this was organised by the president of police association,” Mokoroa said.

“So I said to myself that this would be the best time to make that announcement (of Tetava’s contract expiry). Without any feedback from the police commissioner I made that announcement.”

Following Thursday’s announcement, Mokoroa said the commissioner sent a letter stating that his contract ended on December 1, 2018, “as warranted by the QR (Queen’s Representative)”, Tom Marsters.

“But I have asked him to provide that document (showing the warrant from the QR) which he hasn’t provided to my office, as well as his contract of employment (which) he has not provided to my office,” Mokoroa said.

“Now it’s up to him to see how he can satisfy me in that sense. As it is, he is saying that he is the Commissioner of Police until I have sighted his contract, that’s where he stands.”

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt yesterday said the commissioner was not available to make any comment regarding what the minister had done and said.

He said he did not have firsthand knowledge of what had transpired Thursday, adding “I can tell you the police service is maintaining a ‘business as usual’ position. That includes the commissioner.”

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