Sir Michael Somare calls on Chief Ombudsman to explain silence

26/03/2012 15:48



The Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has called on the Chief Ombudsman to inform PNG of actions his Office is taking towards the continuously offensive conduct of the O’Neill Regime.

Sir Michael said, “As the principal organisation that monitors and keeps in check the conduct of leaders, the silence of the Chief Ombudsman Mr Chronox Manek and the Commission is unacceptable.

“Last week, Dame Carol Kidu, Sir Arnold Amet, myself and others all voiced our opposition to the passage of the judicial conduct bill.

“The students of the University of PNG have come forward last Friday (23 March) to protest the passage of this subordinate act of parliament to make the judiciary answerable to the legislature and the executive arms.

“I understand that groups including the Community Coalition Against Corruption and the PNG Trade Union Congress and other organisations have met to find a way forward to further protest this ‘coconut’ legislation.

“These retrospective amendments are not done in the greater interest of Papua New Guinea but are made to serve the interest of members of parliament that are currently facing the courts on serious contempt charges.

“As the watchdog organisation, the Ombudsman Commission should be ahead of the game that is being played by members of parliament using their numerical strength. The democratic rule of the majority is being blatantly abused and yet the Commission has been absolutely quiet.

“The only statement last week by Mr Manek was the publicity on its internal politics, a matter that can be sorted in house with his administration.

“Furthermore the Chief Ombudsman has not battered an eye lid regarding the recently revealed misconduct allegations of Mr Namah at the Star Casino in Sydney.

“The Ombudsman Commission should pursue this regime in the same way that they pursued me relentlessly over my annual returns.

“If Mr Manek is compromised then he should declare his conflict of interest and step aside so others in the organisation can perform their duty to safeguard our people against abuses of our leaders.

“Mr Manek should be informing the public that the passage of this act is unnecessary as the Constitution adequately covers the conduct of judiciary under sections 178 to 182.

“Furthermore, the law is undermining the existence of the Commission as the leadership code of the Ombudsman Commission already exists to monitor the conduct of all leaders be it the judiciary, legislature or the executive,” said Sir Michael.