23 Jun 2004

Tonga's Commissioner for Public Relations asks for greater powers

3:58 pm on 23 June 2004

Tonga's Commissioner for Public Relations is to ask for powers to compel government departments to release information.

Siaosi 'Aho says he's making the recommendation directly to the prime minister in a report which also requests more staff and resources.

Mr 'Aho says his role, which was established two years ago, is similiar to that of an ombudsman, and he deals with complaints about maladministration in government departments.

The commissioner says he has had some difficulties in the past.

"There needs to be some coercive power in order to get government departments to action matters quickly, speedily, when I request information. In actual fact, I have specifically requested that I have the power to publicise directly any recommendations that I make on a finding."

Siaosa 'Aho says some cases have been dragging on for months.

The report will be given to the prime minister by the end of the month.