The new salary for the Ombudsman was yesterday approved by Parliament to move from Le65M per annum to Le 116M.
It means, the former Ombudsman was receiving a monthly salary of (Le5,416,666) five million, four hundred and sixteen thousand, six hundred and sixty six Leones whilst the new Ombudsman, the former speaker of Parliament Justice Edmund Cowan will now receive a monthly salary of Le 9,666,666 (Nine Million Six Hundred and Sixty Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Leones).
Proposing the motion before the House to approve the recommendations of the Parliamentary Finance Committee on the terms and conditions of service for the Ombudsman, the Committee chairman, Hon Dr. Moses Sesay of APC said following series of meetings of the Finance Committee, it was a consensus for the agreed salary for the Ombudsman.
The seconder of the motion, Hon Tamba E. Kaingbanja of SLPP said that Parliament was charged with the responsibility of setting conditions of service for all Government institutions and that the Ombudsman’s case was not the only institution looked at as all other commissions’ salaries were looked at.
He stated that the law says salary considerations should not be done at the disadvantage of the individual concerned more so as he said it had to do with an individual like the Ombudsman who was an appeals court Judge before becoming Speaker of Parliament and who has acted as President of the country. “In computing his salary and other conditions of service, we thought we have to equate him with all other commissioners”
Hon Dr. Bernadette Lahai of SLPP reminded all that one thing the country has been accused of is when an office is given to an individual; the requisites for that office must be given also. She also stated that the role of the Ombudsman was important “who should be seen holding the Government in check and also like the Human Rights Commission, be for the poor.”
The MP also reminded all that the Ombudsman’s duty of investigating cases of those whose rights have been trampled upon by either the Government or by individuals, should investigate those issues in an intellectually honest manner.
Hon Chernor Maju Bah of APC called on the Ombudsman to take in to consideration his functions whilst Hon Julius Nyei Kofi urged him not to become a lame duck Ombudsman and to open offices in the country.
By Ishmael Bayoh