Inquiries Into Shooting At University Of PNG Get Underway

Ombudsman Commission, Police Commissioner, PM all order investigations into violence

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 10, 2016) – Constitutional watchdog Ombudsman Commission  will  investigate the shooting of  the University of  Papua  New  Guinea students  at the  Waigani cam- pus entrance on Wednesday.

It has the power to conduct investigations on  its own initiative under the Organ- ic Law  on the Ombudsman Commission.

The Ombudsman said in a media statement yesterday that it wanted to determine "whether servants and or agents of governmental bodies committed wrong conduct by actions and or omissions" that are:

  • Contrary to law;
  • Unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory, whether or not it is in accordance with law or practice;
  • Based wholly or partly on improper motives, irrelevant grounds or irrelevant consideration;
  • Based wholly or partly on mistake of law or of fact; and
  • Conduct for which reasons should be given but were not.

The Ombudsman Commission urged the public to exercise restraint and allow due process of law to determine the cause of the student unrest in Port Moresby and other State-run universities in Lae, Goroka and Vudal in the past four weeks.

[PIR editor's note: On June 10, 2016 PNG Post-Courier reported that Police Commissioner Baki described some of what happened at UPNG and said that it all 'will be detailed in the internal investigation that he has ordered to be carried out ,and that action will be taken once the inquiry is established and completed. ... The investigations will also look at the conduct of the foreign offices and foreign media in PNG and the local media will also be scrutinised in this investigation.']  

It said that equally important it wanted to ensure that such occurrences do not happen again in future through appropriate recommendations in its report and implementation of any such recommendations by relevant governmental bodies.

The Ombudsman announcement comes as Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced that the Government will set up a commission of inquiry, a move welcomed by the Opposition, to determine the cause of the unrest.

The Ombudsman said that its function to investigate wrong conduct is separate to the Leadership Code function which relates to investigation of alleged or suspected misconduct by leaders subject to the Leadership Code under section 26 of the Constitution.

Also investigations under the Leadership Code are conducted under the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership.

"All investigations of the Ombudsman Commission, whether for wrong conduct under the Organic Law on the Ombudsman Commission or misconduct under the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership, are conducted independently and in strict confidence, as the Ombudsman Commission is an independent constitutional institution free from direction or control by any person in the performance of its functions," it said.

PNG Post-Courier
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