The Office of the Prime Minister (OPMC) has slammed a report by Alfred Sasako in the Island Sun newspaper, Thursday.
This was in response to a report bearing the headline; “Two senior officers escape PM’s cost-cutting measures.”
Alex Akwai of the Prime Minister Office (PMO) Press in a statement on Friday described the report as “once again an example of poor journalism on the part of Mr Sasako” and reiterates the need for journalists to verify facts before publishing articles in the print media.
“Mr Sasako possesses the phone and email contacts of both the Chief of Staff and the Special Secretary to the Prime Minister (SSPM) yet he chose not to verify the article before going to print,” the statement said.
“This speaks volumes about the manner of professionalism displayed by Mr Sasako further to other such misrepresentations which have been made in the print media,” the statement added.
“Mr Sasako’s allegation of $12,000 for transport is erroneous.
“All SS4 contracts have a standard amount of $6,000 transport allowance before tax, which includes the Policy Secretaries.
“Had Mr Sasako verified his facts, he would have found out that the Chief of Staff has forfeited that allowance since being allocated a Government issued vehicle earlier this year which can be officially verified.
“The Government vehicle issued to the Prime Minister’s Private Office that is headed by the Special Secretary to the Prime Minister is garaged at the OPMC car park.
“Further, Business Class travel is a standard term incorporated into all SS4 contracts.
“The negotiation of contracts is a standard exercise which requires substantive justification and is subject to mandatory approvals which includes the endorsement of the Public Service Commission.
“For someone who holds himself as a ‘veteran journalist’, such conduct is unbecoming and demeaning.”
The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet furthers call on MASI to ensure journalists conduct themselves in the highest professional manner.