Watchdog maintains neutrality

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 23rd December 2011

THE Ombudsman Commission has warned political leaders and others engaged in the recent political impasse to be mindful of their conduct and leadership responsibilities.
The Ombudsman Commissioners, comprising Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek, John Nero and Phoebe Sangetari said in a joint statement that although they acknowledged the calls by Sir Michael Somare and Morobe MP Luther Wenge to intervene in the impasse, they said the commission did not just “jump on the bandwagon” or run to seek remedies upon instructions from “some busy bodies.”
They said the commission was keeping a watching brief and would only step in at the right time as done on previous occasions.
The Ombudsman watches, collates and analyses each given situation and balances that against public policy considerations and all other relevant factors that need to be taken into account, they said.
They said the more important consideration was whether the timing was right and whether its actions would assist to quickly progress the result expected or; the action itself would be the stumbling block in reaching the way forward through dialogue and compromise which the commission strongly recommend in the current situation.
They said they were mindful of section 115(3) of the constitution which provided that no member of parliament was subject to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise of his powers or the performance of his functions, duties or responsibilities as such, but the subsection did not affect the operation of Division 111.2 of the leadership code.
The commissioner’s call on all political leaders was to be mindful of  their responsibilities.