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Papua New Guinea

Kua: Watchdog must install third commissioner

THE Shadow Minister for Justice and Attorney General Kerenga Kua has again called on the government to immediately appoint a third Ombudsman Commissioner as a vacancy has existed for the past two years.

Mr Kua said: “In the interest of the people of PNG, the Prime Minister and the appointment committee need to meet to appoint a third Ombudsman Commissioner so that the backlog of complaints referred to the Office of the Ombudsman Commission can be deliberated upon; moved forward or dismissed.

“At the moment, Members of Parliament and senior public servants are free to do as they wish as the body responsible to check on their activities is incapable of taking decisions as there are only two commissioners in office.”

Mr Kua said since the government took office, the office has not been able to function properly and serve its mandated responsibilities and core functions.

He said after the passing of the previous Chief Ombudsman Commissioner, Chronox Manek, Phoebe Sangetari was only serving in an acting capacity until her term expired and was not renewed.

“A year ago, last February, the appointment committee only confirmed Michael Dick as the Chief Ombudsman and Richard Pagen as a commissioner but a vacancy still exists.

“Constitutionally, there should be two commissioners plus the chief ombudsman commission, a total of three commissioners so the office can function effectively,” he said.

“This protracted delay is a deliberate attempt to hinder the operations of the office and make the backlog impossible to clear in a given period of time which so far seems to be the full term of this government.

“This is disgraceful!

“As a Constitutional Office, I would suggest to the Office of the Ombudsman Commission to respectfully appeal to the Office of the Chief Justice to urge the appointments committee to meet and appropriately empower this important Constitutional Office by appointing a third commissioner.”

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