16 Dec 2009

NZ's Chief Ombudsman says PNG attack shows how ombudsmen need backing of courts

11:14 am on 16 December 2009

The Commonwealth Ombudsman and Chair of the Pacific Ombudsman Alliance, Professor John McMillan, has condemned the shooting of Papua New Guinea's Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek.

Mr Manek was shot and wounded outside his home in an apparent assassination attempt.

Professor McMillan said that since his appointment in 2008, Mr Manek has dedicated himself to safeguarding PNG' s citizens through his fearless investigation of complaints against government officials and agencies'.

His sentiments were echoed by New Zealand's Chief Ombudsman, Beverely Wakem who said Mr Manek had been fearless in his investigations into corruption, albeit in the highest places in the land:

"..and I think that does, where the rule of law can sometimes be a bit shaky, it does expose an ombudsman in pursuit of the truth unfortunately to pressures of one kind or another, but this is the first time I've ever heard of an ombudsman, in what looks like an attempt assassination of an ombudsman and we're deeply concerned about that"

Ms Wakem says ombudsmen ultimately have to rely on the rule of law and the power of the courts to support them in their work