President Obed Moses Tallis will appoint Vanuatu’s new Ombudsman next week.

Article 61 (1) in the Constitution stipulates that: “The Ombudsman shall be appointed, for 5 years, by the President of the Republic after consultation with the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, the leaders of the political parties represented in Parliament, the chairman of the National Council of Chiefs, the chairmen of the Local Government Councils, and the chairmen of the Public Service Commission and the Judicial Service Commission.”

Daily Post was reliably informed that five applicants have been shortlisted and the consultation process as required under the Constitution has been completed.

The president is expected to appoint one of the five shortlisted applicants next week.

The position was vacant since December 2017 and Mr. Alain Wai Molgos was appointed as the Acting Ombudsman on 14 March 2018.

It was advertised twice and applicants of the position have been waiting for a very long time. There was no formal forthcoming response as to why this has dragged on for so long.

Daily Post Publisher and founder Marc Neil-Jones has repeated his call for more transparency and public involvement in the selection of the Ombudsman.

”The Ombudsman is supposed to stand with the people and represent their interests, not just be a political appointee,” he said. “The public should have a say in who gets the job.”

Under Article 62 (1) in the Constitution, the Ombudsman may enquire into the conduct of any person or body to which this Article applies;

(a) upon receiving a complaint from a member of the public (or, if for reasons of incapacity, from his representative or a member of his family) who claims to have been the victim of an injustice as a result of particular conduct; (b) at the request of a Minister, a member of Parliament, of the National Council of Chiefs or of a Local Government Council; or © of his own initiative.

It appears that the only public report released by the Office of the Ombudsman since December 2017 is the recommendation to review the VMF Fire Service dated February 2019, following its inaction to stop a fire burning down a dwelling at Anambrou Area in 2014.

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