Posted by / Wednesday 25 May 2016 / No comments

The features of the office of the Ombudsman

The Ombudsman is an official empowered to inquire into complaints of citizens who feel they have been improperly or unfairly treated by a government official or department. If the findings of the Ombudsman prove that the complaint was true, he/she seeks a remedy. 

The institution may be directly established by the constitution. In that case, the constitution makes provision for every aspect of the operations of the institution. On the other hand, the constitution may make provisions for an Act of Parliament to establish it. In other words, the institution is established after a government is sworn into office. 

The personality of the Ombudsman
The Ombudsman must have a friendly disposition. In his or her dealings with people, there must never never be any display of bias. He or she must enjoy the support of the entire nation and government institutions.

Legal Background
By the nature of the job of the Ombudsman, it is always required that he/she must have a legal background. This is so because the issues that come to the attention of the Ombudsman border on legal matters. In Ghana, the person who qualifies to be appointed as an Ombudsman must also qualify to be appointed as an Appeal Court Judge.

Method of operation
Apart from the fact that the Ombudsman could launch an investigation into a matter reported to him/her by an aggrieved person or a group of persons, he/she could also launch an investigation into an issue though it has not been brought to his/her attention but which he/she found out anyway from his/her own source.

Ombudsman cannot hold another office
The constitution bars the Ombudsman from holding any other public office. In other words, he/she cannot be the Director of an institution and at the same time the Ombudsman. If he/she was previously the head of a government institution before his/her appointment, he/she must abdicate the earlier office.

Political Neutrality
The ombudsman is required to be politically neutral. He/she should not be seen to be leaning toward one party or the other. 

The Ombudsman must not be fettered in any way in the performance of his/her duties. There should not be any political interference from any quarters. His/her salary cannot, for example, be varied to his/her disadvantage. It is paid for from the Consolidated Fund.

1. Describe six features of the office of the Ombudsman.

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