The Ombudsman Commission is an independent constitutional institution created by the Constitution in 1975. It consists of a chief ombudsman and two Ombudsman, one of whom must have an accounting qualification. The main functions of the Commission are to:-
- Investigate complaints about the administrative actions of governmental bodies and agencies.
- Administer the Leadership Code (outlined in the Constitution) by conducting investigations into the actions of Leaders.
- Investigate discriminatory practices under the Discriminatory Practices Act and the HIV/AIDS Management and Prevention Act. All complaints received by the Commission are confidential except where information must be revealed to conduct an investigation.
Ombudsman Commission operates under two laws;
- Organic Law on the Ombudsman Commission
- Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership
Section 218 of the Constitution provides the purpose of the Commission as follows;
- ensure that all Government Bodies (GBs) are responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people,
- work with GBs to improve their service-delivery mechanisms and ensure services rendered are fair and non-discriminatory,
- help eliminate unfair and defective legislation and practices affecting or administered by GBs,
- enforce the Leadership Code.
The primary functions of the Commission is to investigate;
- alleged wrong conduct and defective administration by GBs.
- alleged discriminatory practices, by any person or body.
- alleged misconduct in office under the Leadership Code.
- Supreme Court References
- Implied power to enforce Basic Rights
- Power to consent to GG holding another position or office
- Jurisdiction of registrar, BOM, executive officers of political parties
- CO to participate in judicial appointments by virtue of his membership to JLSC
Ombudsman Commission investigates
- Any state or provincial service or a member of any such service
- Any other governmental body, or an officer or employee of a governmental body
- Any local governmental body or officer or employee of any such body
- A body set up by statute which is either supported primarily by government funds or where the majority of the board are government appointees, or its officers or employees
- Personal staff of the Governor General, a Minister or the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Opposition
- Any other body or person prescribed by an Act of Parliament
Ombudsman Commission cannot investigate
- Private individuals,
- Private Organisations except on violation of human rights, and in so far as to improve the work of GBs
- Criminal matters.
- Policy of National Govt, Minister or Provincial Govt or member of PEC
- NEC decisions
- Matters before Court or Decisions made by Court
Independence of Ombudsman Commission
The Ombudsman Commission;
- is not subject to direction or control
- proceedings are not subject to review except by Supreme Court or National Court (Review on grounds that OC has exceeded its jurisdiction)
- is impartial & independent in executing its roles and functions
Benefits from Ombudsman Commission’s investigations
- Administrative systems of the GBs/Statutory Bodies are improved;
- Mistakes identified and ensure they are not repeated
- GBs/SBs becoming more efficient and responsive to the needs of the people.
- Leaders becoming good leaders.
- Better partnership and coordination between GBs and Leaders.
Ombudsman Commission Proactive Projects
- MOA – Police, Defence, Financial Analysis and Supervision Unit (FASU) of BPNG
- Establishment of Complaints Desks in Government Bodies
- Public Education Awareness
- Monitoring Government Services