Simbu leader protest changes to OC powers

National, Normal


NOMINATED member of the Simbu provincial assembly John Sande has expressed fear that the removal of certain powers of the Ombudsman Commission (OC) would promote corruption.
He told The National from Kundiawa yesterday that elected leaders with political mandates could squander the nation’s resources to their advantage if there was no strong OC to provide the check and balance.
“There is a danger that corruption will worsen as leaders will not have anyone to fear.
“We need to have a very active and strong OC with the teeth to bite. A toothless OC will not be feared or respected by both political and administrative leaders,” Mr Sande said.
He urged the Government to revisit its decision and restore the powers of the OC.
A former Yagaria local level government (LLG) officer Peter Bonoke said: “PNG has had enough of Parliament playing up with the country’s watch dog.
“The OC is there to protect the interests of the country. Politics must steer clear of the OC.”
Mr Bonoke said he was shocked to read The National’s front page on March 10, headlined “Ombudsman loses powers” soon after arriving in Goroka town from his Oliguti village Lufa district.
He quickly drafted out a concern to organise a protest march against Parliament’s move on the OC and circulated copies to media outlet in Goroka town.
“I call on every citizen in every province to protest against the decision to weaken the powers of the OC because we need it to protect the country from going into the hands of corrupt leaders,” Mr Bonoke said.
The Parliament voted 83-0 on March 9 to amend section 27 (4) of the Constitution to remove the powers of the OC in issuing directives to ministers and department heads.