11 Dec 2012

Concern in PNG about ombudsman vacancy

6:37 pm on 11 December 2012

There is concern in Papua New Guinea that the Ombudsman Commission, regarded as the country's leading watchdog for good governance, is still without a permanent head.

There have been two acting heads since the former Chief Ombudsman, Chronox Manek, became ill and passed away in October and former journalist Peter Niesi says there is talk that there could be a third one.

Mr Niesi, who once worked for the Commission, says an acting appointment is less likely to make decisions that might upset the government, as opposed to a permanent chief ombudsman who is appointed for a six-year term.

He says the government needs to send a message that it is serious about accountability.

"Making sure that the people have faith that the government of the day is accountable and prepared to be scrutinised. It would be a demonstration by the government that they are serious about the fight against corruption and ensuring that leadership in general are accountable for their actions."

Peter Niesi.

The opposition has called on the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and the Ombudsmen Appointing Committee to speed up the appointment process.