OMBUDSMAN CONCERNED ON RECENT LEADERSHIP TRIBUNAL DECISIONS

The Ombudsman Commission of Papua New Guinea has expressed concerns on the recent decisions of Leadership tribunals.
In a statement, the OC stated that while it respects the decisions the tribunals have made, it is concerned, especially on the tribunal’s failure to consider important evidences, laws and the application of the criminal test on leadership matters which concerns integrity issues.
It stated that it may be possible that the tribunal overlooked some important constitutional provisions or failed to accept the facts on a “Prima Facie” standard of proof or has relied on a non-existing law or laws which have been struck down by the Supreme Court.
The Commission would like to make it known that a leadership tribunal is not a criminal court and does not necessarily need to apply the strict rules of evidence where the test should be proof beyond reasonable doubt.
Leadership Tribunals are quasi-judicial in nature and the tribunals ought to conduct an enquiry on the conduct of the person referred and not to apply the strict rule of evidence.
Leadership Code matters are purely disciplinary matters that are referred based on Prima Facie evidences and the test should be a test based on a standard that is higher than the civil test and less than the criminal standard of proof.
This has been the status quo over many years and the commission is concerned that the decisions have now changed the dynamics of the precedence which has been developed over many years.
As far as the tribunals are concerned the commission has fulfilled to the best of its ability all requirements under the law to bring all the cases up to the level of the tribunal and it hopes that future tribunals consider the concerns highlighted.
It added that regardless of whatever the outcome would be the commission will continue to fulfil its constitutionally mandated duties to ensure good governance and good leadership in Papua New Guinea.
The Commission is currently assessing the recent decisions of the tribunals and would decide what cause of action it would take.
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