Sunday, July 12, 2009

Press Statement: OP denies chartering jet for foreign visit.

source: Republic of Botswana (11/7/09) TAUTONA TIMES no 18 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline

D1a) 8/7/09: Press Statement: OP denies chartering jet for foreign visit.

This Office notes with dismay a report in one of today’s newspapers [i.e. “Khama Hires a Jet” in Botswana Gazette of 8/7/09] in which it is falsely claimed that H.E. the President has chartered a jet from a Canadian jet manufacturing company, Bombardier, for use in foreign trips such as his recent Official Visit to Singapore.

We are also concerned that the same report misleadingly insinuates that millions are thus being used to charter aircraft for foreign trips and its publication of the further unsubstantiated claim that some unnamed “officials in government believe Bombardier is raking in a lot of money from Botswana as a result of the delayed delivery of anew Presidential jet.”

For the record, this Office can reassure the public that no such charter or payments have been made.

In fact, Bombardier provided a jet free of charge for use by His Excellency’s delegation to Singapore, as a result of the company’s failure to meet its delivery deadline.

We further observe that, far from “raking in a lot of money”, the same company, in accordance with its contractual obligations, is actually being made to pay penalty fees for each day it fails to meet the said deadline.

Finally, this Office is of the firm view that an understandable inability of public officials to at all times conform to various newspapers own deadlines does not in any way absolve the press from its professional obligation to at all times ensure that what is published is accurate; much less provide media practitioners with a license to embellish and distort such information as has been availed to them.

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