Vanuatu Ombudsman reminds Leaders to submit annual returns by 1 March

The Ombudsman of Vanuatu, Hamlison Bulu has reminded Leaders that they have until 1 March to submit annual returns.

According to the Office of the Ombudsman, more than 400 people currently occupy positions classified as Leaders as spelt out by the Constitution and Leadership Code.

Only five have submitted their annual returns.

The Leaders defined in Article 67 of Vanuatu’s Constitution include the Head of State, the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament.

Section 5 of the Leadership Code stipulates persons holding the following positions are also classified as Leaders.

·        Members of the National Council of Chiefs;

·        Elected and nominated members of local government councils;

·        Elected and nominated members of municipal councils;

·        Political advisors to a Minister;

·       Directors-General of ministries and directors of departments;

·        Members and the chief executive officers (however described) of the boards and statutory authorities;

·        Chief executive officers or secretaries-general of local government;

·        Town clerks (or their equivalent in name) of municipal councils;

persons who are:

·        Directors of companies or other bodies corporate wholly owned by the Government; and

·        appointed as directors by the Government;

·        The Attorney General;

·        The Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Police;

·        The Solicitor General;

·        The Public Prosecutor;

·        The Public Solicitor;

·        The Ombudsman;

·        The Clerk of the Parliament;

·        The Principal Electoral Officer;

·        The Auditor-General;

·        The Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee;

·        The Chairperson when acting in that capacity of the Tenders Board;

·        Members of the Public Service Commission;

·        Members of the Teaching Service Commission;

·        Members of the Police Service Commission;

·        Members of the Electoral Commission;

·        The Commander of the Vanuatu Mobile Forces.

Section 31(2) of the Leadership Code Act requires all persons classified as Leaders to submit their annual returns to the Ombudsman by 1 March each year and within two months of becoming a leader.

Leaders who have failed to meet the 1 March deadline are given a final 14-day period to submit their annual returns.

Ombudsman Bulu, urged Leaders to file their returns, respect their positions, respect the law and also respect people who have helped them to be in the position they hold today.

The information required to be submitted in the annual returns form include list of assets such as properties one has, land and houses, vehicles, boats or income received in the previous year, Leaders must list all their liabilities such as mortgages and any debts they owe.

All information submitted is confidential however the names of those who do not submit their annual returns will be published in an official gazette by the State Law Office.

A Leader who fails to submit his annual returns is liable to pay a fine not exceeding VT 2,000,000 .


Photo supplied Caption: Ombudsman Hamilson Bulu


Tensly Sumbe