Public Report on the Improper Appointment of Senior Public Works Department Staff - March 11, 1999 - Emalus Campus



Public Report on the Improper Appointment of Senior Public Works Department Staff - March 11, 1999

99-04

This report considers the propriety of actions of the Prime Minister, certain members of the Public Service Commission, certain Political Secretaries in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works and employees of the Public Works Department in appointing 3 persons as senior foremen of the Public Works Department.

Section 60 of the Constitution and the Public Service Act provide procedures for the appointment of Public Servants.  The Public Service Commission has the authority to hire personnel for the Public Service. It is an offence to solicit or endeavor to influence the Commission in the exercise of its powers.

None of the three employees met the minimum qualifications required for the positions for which they were hired.  However, all were strong supporters of the UMP, the political party of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister Mr. Carlot Korman appointed the persons in question on his own initiative, based on the political affiliations of the persons, without consultation with the Public Service Commission or the Department of Public Works and despite their lack of proper qualifications for the positions.  The appointments were made on a temporary basis without a specified time period and were therefore in breach of section 57(4) of the Constitution.  The Minister of Transport and senior political secretaries sought to have two of the persons made permanent based on improper political motives.  As such their actions were contrary to the Constitution and the provisions of the Public Service Act.  Members of the Public Service Commission, in acting on the basis of political pressure to appoint two of the persons to permanent positions acted unjustly and improperly.

The Prime Minister Mr. Carlot Korman put himself into a position of conflict of interest and breached the procedure relating to the hiring of the three persons.  This amounted to a breach of the Leadership Code.  The Minister of Public Works, Mr. Bangabiti also  breached the Leadership Code in seeking to influence the hiring of the three persons based on political interests rather than merit.
Recommendation

       That Mr. Korman and Mr. Bangabiti should not be appointed to any ministerial position in the Government of Vanuatu.

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Written by Edward R. Hill
UNDP Governance and Accountability Project
January, 2001
Van/97/001
Ombudsman of Vanuatu
Published here by University of the South Pacific, School of Law Web Site - www.vanuatu.usp.ac.fj






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