17 Oct 2002

Vanuatu parliament to debate changes to the ombudsman act

6:09 pm on 17 October 2002

The Vanuatu parliament is expected to debate next month changes to the Ombudsman Act allowing closer collaboration between the public prosecutor, police and Ombudsman office.

The Ombudsman, Hannington Alatoa says the changes will mean the direct use of his office's reports as prosecutorial evidence against politicians implicated in criminal activity.

Mr Alatoa says currently police and the public prosecutor must launch separate inquiries into those orginally investigated by the Ombudsman office which wastes time and resources.

He says his office's reports are often ignored as they are only recommdnations and cannot be used as court evidence.

Mr Alatoa says the proposed amendments will hold politicians more accountable for their actions.

"Some of the leaders who are in the current coalition could be affected once that part of the act is amended. We have been persuading the government and the Prime Minister to make sure that he puts his money where his mouth is and clear up our own back yard and make sure that we do the right thing."

Hannington Alatoa in Vanuatu