Ombudsman’s Office record more cases as people know about them
NUKU’ALOFA – August 27, 2018: 6.50pm (Nuku’alofa Times): More and more people are now reporting cases against Government ministries and departments with the Ombudsman’s Office following extensive awareness campaigns throughout the Kingdom.
A media statement released from the office today said that according to statistics, the Office of the Ombudsman has been investigating on a number of complaints that have increased from 48 in 2014 to 76 in 2015, 100 in 2016 and rose by more than 100 per cent to 261 in 2017. In the 2017/18 period, 278 complaints were received and investigated upon.
The Office of the Ombudsman understands that these results could be attributed to the wider coverage of their awareness program to the public, MDAs and PEs.
Twenty-two outreach programs were carried out in 2015, and have increased markedly to 151 in 2016/17 and 209 in the 2017/18 period. These outreach programs were conducted all throughout Tongatapu and Ha’apai islands, main islands of Vava’u, ‘Eua and Niuatoputapu.
In 2015, most of the complaints were made against the Ministry of Police, followed by the Public Service Commission, Tonga Water Board, Ministry of Lands, Finance, Waste Authority Limited, Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Prisons Department and the Ministry of Health
However, in 2016 this trend shifted where the Office of the Ombudsman received the most complaints against the Ministry of Lands, followed by the Tonga Water Board, Ministry of Health, Police, Education and Internal Affairs.
The trend shifted again in 2017 where most of the complaints were made against the Ministry of Internal Affairs, followed by the Police, Lands, Education, Tonga Power Ltd., Finance, Ministry of Infrastructure, Tonga Development Bank and Tonga Water Board.
It is evident from the figures that significant improvement had been made by the Tonga Water Board when very little complaint was made against the public enterprise in 2017.
This was attributed to the close working relationship that the Office of the Ombudsman had with Tonga Water Board in trying to improve systems which included the billing system and issuance of water bills to customers.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva, and members of his cabinet, had the opportunity to hear from the Ombudsman, ‘Aisea Taumoepeau, in an outreach program of the Office of the Ombudsman carried out on Wednesday, August 22.
The Chief Executive Officer – Linda Folaumoetu’i and the Director of Investigation – Lepaola Vaea also took part in the awareness drive.
The aim was to inform cabinet members about the key roles of the Office as well as ongoing services and the trend of complaints made against government ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) as well as public enterprises (PEs).
Since 2016, the Ombudsman has the power to publish reports and these reports can be viewed on the Office website www.ombudsman.to , To date there are 14 cases published in 2017 and 8 so far for 2018.
The mission of the Office of the Ombudsman is for a “fair, accountable and responsive administration in government departments and organizations in Tonga.” Its vision is “to provide an impartial and effective complaints resolution service and also work to promote the best practices in public administration, integrity, good governance, transparency and accountability within government ministries and agencies.”
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