Concern over "acting" nature of PNG ombudsman appointment

2:30 pm on 5 August 2016

A new Acting Chief Ombudsman has been sworn in for Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZI

Michael Dick fills the position left vacant by former Acting Chief Ombudsman Phoebe Sangetari.

Mr Dick previously served as Provincial Chief Tax Collector with the Eastern Highlands Province and other positions within PNG's health department and police force.

The former Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet had questioned why, after a number of years, PNG still lacked a permanent chief ombudsman.

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Photo: RNZ/ Koro Vaka'uta

He said the importance of the ombudsman role demanded that there be a suibstantive, fulltime appointment.

He said when someone was appointed in an "acting" capacity, there was the potential to be concerned about the future security of that appointment, which could undermine job performance.

"In recent times the ombudsman's office has come under considerable political pressures, and the fact that only two have been operating - one of whom was acting for a long period of time - has been unsatisfactory, and now again a third person being appointed as acting chief ombudsman is totally unsatisfactory," said Sir Arnold Amet.

The appointment was made by the Ombudsman Appointments Committee which is chaired by the prime minister, the leader of the opposition, the chief justice, the chairman of the public service commission, and the chairman of the parliamentary permanent appointments committee.

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