Upholding Integrity: Pagen Educates UNRE Students on the Importance of the Leadership Code

The Leadership Code was developed to ensure that Leaders in Papua New Guinea act with integrity and uphold the highest standards of conduct, Chief Ombudsman Richard Pagen said during an awareness session with the University of Natural Resources and Environment (UNRE) in Vudal, East New Britain province.

The Chief Ombudsman made reference to Bernard Narokobi’s idea of incorporating a section for disciplining leaders in the Constitution. He quoted Narokobi’s analogy of “a leader in a gentleman’s suit found drunk and sleeping under the female nursing quarters,”. Although he has not committed a crime, the leader has acted in a manner that has brought the office he holds to disrepute and allowed his integrity to be questioned.

He said this highlighted the need for a mechanism to hold leaders accountable for their actions. As a result, the Leadership Code was developed.

Mr. Pagan also gave a brief history of the Establishment of the Ombudsman Commission on September 16, 1975 and elaborated on the four pillars of the Commission, which are; ensuring that governmental bodies are responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people; compliance and accountability of governmental institutions; guiding the review of constitutions and laws; and enforcing the Leadership Code.

He said the Ombudsman Commission in PNG is responsible for 33 to 34 provisions of the Constitution, equivalent to 11% or 12% of the entire PNG Constitution.

“Although the Commission’s work includes investigating and prosecuting leaders, as stated in section 218 (b) of the Constitution, its mandate extends to enforcing the Leadership Code and ensuring compliance and accountability of governmental institutions.

Mr Pagen was in the province with members of his senior management team who are on an awareness circuit to all universities in PNG to educate students on the role of the Commission in light of current issues affecting the nation like the Tkatchenko issue and the US Defense Cooperation Agreement.

Students& Staff at the University of Natural Resource Environment (UNRE) Lecture Hall listing to Chief Ombudsman Richard Pagen speaking on the roles and functions of the ombudsman commission – amidst public outcry on the conduct of Hon. Justin Tkatchenko, for Moresby-south and the PNG/USA Defense Agreement Cooperation.

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