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104 rise in complaints from Civil Servants and staff of public Enterprises to Ombudsman this year compared to last year


Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 12/10/2017


The Office of the Ombudsman has recorded an increase in the number of complaints filed by civil servants and staff of public enterprises this year compared to last year.


According to Linda Folaumoetu’i CEO of the Office, they recorded 100 complaints last year but from January to date – just over 200 complaints have been received.


Majority of the complaints are from civil servants.


Linda Folaumoetu’i highlighted this during a press conference yesterday with Tonga’s Ombudsman – ‘Aisea Taumoepeau together with the Chief Ombudsman of NZ – Judge Peter Boshier who’s currently visiting Nuku’alofa.


Mr. Boshier told reporters at the press conference, the Ombudsman’s Commission is a well-established international institution, and his visit to the Kingdom is to talk about international best practices and share information and ideas in his efforts to support the office in Tonga.


He says, for Ombudsmen around the world, there is everything to be gained from bilateral relationships and dialogue.


“So first is the fact of accountability and transparency and the second is, I think no matter how much some Government Agencies is trying to do their job well they do make mistakes. And there are people in Government Agencies that don’t like people so they make decision which are wrong and unless you got someone who can take a step back and reverse that, that will be unfairness. So our motto is fairness for all, that’s our Ombudsman motto in NZ.”


Judge4 Boshier says many countries have appointed ombudsmen, and it’s clear many – including Tonga see the benefits of having independent figures, listen to complaints of ordinary citizens and deal with issues important to them.


“Yes I think the courts are ok, so a lot of work I did in Tonga in the past has been to do with sentencing and violence, etc. And you need that, you need a court, to do cohesive stuff when there’s crime, but what if it’s someone who just can’t get something done, by Government agency and they just want someone who’s got the power and authority to help them get it done. Well the police won’t cause they’re more interested in policing and crimes. So in that way, that’s why I think it is very effective. Look that’s why I think that so many countries have Ombudsman and there are very few countries in the World that don’t have them, significantly the biggest country that doesn’t have Ombudsman is the USA, does that say something?”


Peter Boshier – Chief Ombudsman of NZ is a former Judge of the New Zealand Family Court, he’s also one of 18 worldwide directors of the International Ombudsman Institute and has particular responsibility for the Pacific Region.


Meanwhile Ombudsman – ‘Aisea Taumoepeau spoke of the process that his office goes through when a complaint is filed.


“We’re mandated by the legislation, to take the report to the Minister, to the responsible Minister, so we take the report to him, and ask him to implement and again the process runs, and if he refuses to do that, we are mandated to take the matter to the speaker of the house, who sall table that report in parliament with his own recommendations.”


Tonga is a foundation member of the Pacific Ombudsman’s Alliance and a member of the International Ombudsman Institute.


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