THE Prime Minister’s office has ridiculed claims by veteran journalist Alfred Sasako on exorbitant entitlements of the special secretary to the PM and the PMO chief of staff.
And has called on the media association MASI to seriously ensure “journalists conduct themselves in the highest professional manner”.
In a strong media statement, the PMO said, “OPMC wishes to strongly inform that this is once again an example of poor journalism on the part of Alfred 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.
“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.
“Mr Sasako’s allegation of $12,000.00 for transport is erroneous. All SS4 contracts have a standard amount of $6,000 transport allowance before tax which includes the Policy Secretaries.
“However, 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 Carpark.
“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.”