$300K phone bill
Two EPS in PM’s Office dial up $285,000 in prepaid mobile and data
THE Government has disabled all prepaid mobile and data services to some government officials following revelation two Executive Personal Secretaries (EPS) in the Prime Minister’s Office rung up nearly $300,000 in phone and data bills last year.
The hefty bills were discovered during a crackdown ordered by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare last month.
One Executive Personal Secretary (EPS) clocked up a bill of $230,000 in prepaid mobile calls and data in 2016, according to those familiar with the crackdown.
The other EPS ran up a $55,000 bill for the same services in the 12 months to December last year.
Both women work as Political Appointees in the Office of the Prime Minister, serving in the secretarial pool, whose services are being used by ordinary Members of Parliament in government.
They, along with others, have been told that they are no longer entitled to free prepaid mobile and data services.
The initial crackdown was prompted by revelation that one permanent secretary incurred some $400,000 in prepaid mobile and data costs in 2016.
That discovery prompted the Office of the Prime Minister to clamp down on telephone and data costs, disabling data connections immediately right across the board.
The latest action meant that only those who need to have the services would remain.
It is understood the move is part of cost-cutting measures intended to save the government millions of dollars in telephone and data costs.