WorkSafe reopening investigation after injured worker pressured to lie

Source: 1News

WorkSafe has reopened an investigation into a workplace accident after 1News revealed that the companies at the centre of it pressured a seriously injured worker to lie.

Last September, Mosese Foketi broke his back in several places along with his foot and shoulder after two concrete walls collapsed on him.

1News uncovered evidence over the tactics used by demolition company, Mac Group, and its sub-contractor, which included asking the worker to lie about his employment after WorkSafe launched an investigation into the incident.

After he was discharged from hospital, Foketi was visited by Mac Group boss Angus Macdonald and a colleague.

They wanted him to tell WorkSafe he wasn't involved in the demolition.

"If they do come and have a chat, you know what to say and its basically that you are only there to load the waste out and you pulled on a piece of wood and that was it," Macdonald was filmed saying by Foketi.

But Foketi has refused to lie throughout the ordeal.

WorkSafe recommended the companies carry out their own review of the incident and they chose not to interview Foketi.

In a statement to 1News, WorkSafe says in light of the new information last week, it will contact Foketi in the coming days. Its inspectors and other agencies will be looking closely to determine whether the companies involved have and are meeting their requirements under the law.

Since 1News' story went to air, the contracting company owner Sioeli Muli has been harassing Foketi's family including his sister who lives in the US.

"My family was upset and scared at the same time. He has no right to do that to them," Foketi said.

Adding to the stress is that he's now an overstayer and living in continuous pain, while his New Zealand resident partner is on unpaid leave to take care of him and their eight-month-old daughter.

But he has some good news. Manukau District Health Board is looking into the treatment he's getting and on Monday he received a visit from Manurewa marae, who are making sure the family, who have no income, are receiving food parcels.

"Honestly, we're so thankful for that," Foketi said.

It's a long road ahead for Foketi but he said telling his side of the story is a step in his recovery.