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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:-

  1. Investigate complaints about the administrative actions of governmental bodies and agencies.
  2. Administer the Leadership Code (outlined in the Constitution) by conducting investigations into the actions of Leaders.
  3. 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

Purpose

Section 218 of the Constitution provides the purpose of the Commission as follows;

  1. ensure that all Government Bodies (GBs) are responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people,
  2. work with GBs to improve their service-delivery mechanisms and ensure services rendered are fair and non-discriminatory,
  3. help eliminate unfair and defective legislation and practices affecting or administered by GBs,
  4. enforce the Leadership Code.

Primary Functions

The primary functions of the Commission is to investigate;

  1. alleged wrong conduct and defective administration by GBs.
  2. alleged discriminatory practices, by any person or body.
  3. alleged misconduct in office under the Leadership Code.

Subsidiary Functions

  1. Supreme Court References
  2. Implied power to enforce Basic Rights
  3. Power to consent to GG holding another position or office
  4. Jurisdiction of registrar, BOM, executive officers of political parties
  5. 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

 

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