IT SEEMS PNG’s Parliament may have gone too far in trying to weaken the Ombudman’s powers to prevent politicians abusing public funds.
Throughout PNG, community organisations and groups are organising themselves to oppose the so-called Maladina Amendment.
Non-government organisations including Transparency International and the Civil Society Coalition say they are ready to convince Parliament to revoke its decision to limit the Ombudsman Commission’s powers.
Under the Maladina Amendment, the PNG Constitution would be changed to remove powers that make Ministers and MPs accountable for spending public money.
Civil organisations are planning to stage peaceful protests throughout PNG on Tuesday 4 May.
In other provinces, people are also organising to petition provincial administrators.
A spokesperson for Transparency International said it will meet with members of Parliament, including Mr Maladina.
Anti-corruption activist, Noel Anjo, claims the Maladina Bill, if passed, will protect and legalise corruption.
He was supported by Chief Ombudsman, Chronox Manek, who warned that amending the Constitution would be akin to inviting corruption to flourish.
He said his Commission is concerned that many of Mr Maladina’s proposals will hamper its ability to enforce the leadership code by holding politicians accountable for their misconduct.
Transparency International said it was concerned that some Parliamentarians who approved the Maladina Amendment in a unanimous vote may not have properly understood what they were voting for and the impact of the vote on PNG.
“We are more than happy to meet with Mr Maladina and the MPs and talk with them and try to convince them that weakening the powers of the Ombudsman is the wrong thing to do,” a spokesman said.
He said the community coalition against corruption formed to oppose the amendment had drawn support from groups, organisations and institutions around the country.
Sources: ‘Peaceful protest planned for Parlt’ by Simon Eroro, Post-Courier. ‘MPs urged to say ‘no’ to amendment’ by Alison Anis, The National