P.M. tells P.S.C. and Police to investigate source of leakages

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has told the Public Service Commission (P.S.C.) and the Police to investigate where, how and whom in the Government is leaking “confidential information” to the Samoa Observer.

“The investigation must be launched by P.S.C. and the Ministry of Police to find out who is leaking the information,” he said.

Tuilaepa also wants to know the “source” of confidential Cabinet papers that are often leaked and published by the Samoa Observer from time to time.

The Prime Minister confirmed the directive during his weekly interview on Radio 2AP last week.

He also accused the Samoa Observer of using money to entice Government employees to leak them information.

The Prime Minister’s comments follow the recent leakage of P.S.C. charge sheets, revealing different P.S.C. charges against senior officials of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration. One of them has had her contract terminated by Cabinet.

According to the Prime Minister, the investigation of officials in the public service from time to time is the function of the P.S.C. He said such investigations must be thorough and comprehensive.

“The future of this person is at stake therefore the P.S.C. has to investigate in a methodical manner, at the same time we are also cautious because if the government makes the wrong decision, they can be liable in the court of law,” Tuilaepa said.

He reminded that five years ago, Siva Afi Company Ltd sued the Government for several millions and won. This is why the Government needs to be even more careful with its investigations now.

He said different Ministries in the government are involved in the investigations, such as the Audit Office and the Ministry of Finance.

He said the Audit Office are like "the spies of Parliament.”

He then turned on the Samoa Observer.

“The P.S.C. wrote to the Samoa Observer to stop publishing P.S.C. reports while investigations are underway, as it is illegal,” Tuilaepa said pointing out that the publications have “huge ramifications.”

“So this means the Samoa Observer is in contact secretly with those from the P.S.C. and others and money is being used to leak out sensitive issues while they are confidential. This is illegal.”

The allegation about money was strongly rejected by the Samoa Observer Editor, Mata’afa Keni Lesa, who said the newspaper does not and would never entertain the idea of offering money to sources. He added that sources are the lifeblood of any investigative news organisation and as such, the Samoa Observer would always protect its sources.

Continuing in his interview, Tuilaepa said the leaking of information about an investigation undermines the work being done.

The Prime Minster added that even confidential Cabinet papers are leaked to the Samoa Observer when in some cases; decisions on the matters in question are pending.

The Prime Minister said he has urged the Ministries to issue press releases and also to respond to questions from the Samoa Observer and other media organisations.

“But sometimes considering the questions posed by the Samoa Observer, you can tell from a mile away their hidden agenda and so who wants to answer such questions?

“It is not a question wanting to understand, rather they are questions seeking to insult.”

He concluded that reporters should not just think about the fish they are catching today but they should consider the net so they can eat fish all the time.

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