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Warn that proper procedures must be followed

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 11, 2009) – The Ombudsman Commission has raised fears that the proposed constitutional amendment on the Organic law on them will greatly hamper its ability to enforce the leadership code and make it hard to hold leaders accountable.

The proposed constitutional amendments that are before Parliament did not follow the requirement as per the constitution, the Commission believes.

This and many other proposed amendments in a private members bill were introduced by Esa’ala MP Moses Maladina in the last parliament sitting and have been opposed by the commission who are calling on members of Parliament to delay the debate until there is adequate consultation and that the procedural requirement to amend the Constitution is met.

Chief Ombudsman Chronex Manek and two Ombudsmen, John Nero and Phoebe Sangetari, in a media conference over the weekend said while the commission welcomed the opportunity to discuss reforms to the Constitution on the commission, they did not support many proposed amendments in their second stage of reading in Parliament.

Mr. Manek said "the commission is unable to support Mr. Maladina’s assertion in his second reading that the amendments will make the role of the commission more effective. We have concerns with both the content of the new amendments and the processes used to develop the proposals."

"First, we do not consider that there has been adequate consultation about the proposals, with either the general public or government agencies that are responsible for enforcing the leadership code.

"We note that a Special Parliamentary Committee on the Ombudsman Commission was established to look into the work of the commission and it travelled throughout the country gathering views of the public.

"However the committee has not tabled a final report and it is unclear whether the current proposed amendments are consistent with the submissions made to the committee."

Their second concern is that the constitutional requirements for these proposed amendments were not met. Section 14 (2) of the Constitution requires that the proposed law must be published by the Speaker in full in the National Gazette not less than one month before it is formally introduced in Parliament.

"Proposed subsection 20(8) to (11) and section 27(a) and (b) of the OLDRL were not included in the Gazettal notice but do appear in the bill submitted to Parliament. There were irregularities with respect to subsection 27(4A). This irregularity needs to be rectified before the bill is passed and it has to start again."

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:

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