The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has described claims by the Joint Civil Society Group that the Secretary to the Prime Minister misused public funds as “grossly irresponsible and misguided”.
The Joint Civil Society Group had accused Jeffery Wickham of misusing 4-hundred thousand dollars, intended for Ziata tribal landowners in Western Province.
In a statement today, Mr. Wickham said the cheque was raised, but after revelations of the pending court case, it was returned to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury where it was canceled.
The 4-hundred thousand dollars was approved in late January this year, to pave the way for negotiations with a particular Ziata landowning group following negotiations over the supply of water from the Ziata source to Noro and Munda townships.
The Ministry of Finance and Treasury also confirmed cancellation of the payment with appropriate evidence.
Meanwhile, Mr Wickham said allegations of this nature by the Joint Civil Society Group are increasingly common now, and his main concern is that the media takes these stories and publishes them, without any attempt to verify their accuracy and exactness.
He says this is not only irresponsible and unprofessional, but also very malicious.