By Momodou Jarju
The Office of the Ombudsman has emphasised its commitment to keep information received during investigation, as confidential as possible. This statement comes in the wake of the publication of their report on the Social Security and Housing Financial Corporation (SSHFC) saga, on social media.
The statement was raised by the Office of the Ombudsman in a press release dated November 2nd 2018, that was made available to Foroyaa.
“We wish to draw the attention of the public to the fact that confidentiality, is one of the tenets of Ombudsmanship and the Office has always maintained this during and after our investigations. The Office has never deviated from the observance of this important tenet since its inception,” the press release continued. The release further stated that the confidentiality in the Ombudsman’s system of dispensing administrative justice, earns them the people’s trust.
It however noted that the Ombudsman shares its findings with individuals and institutions that are parties to a complaint, who have rights to their complaints lodged with the Ombudsman, as well as those whose conduct, cause the investigation; that parties are expected to aid the Ombudsman in keeping the confidentiality of copies of reports issued to them.
“Although the Ombudsman may choose to publish its findings in the interest of the public in line with Section 10 (2) of the Ombudsman Act, it has not done so in the SSHFC staff petition just as in all previous complaints it has investigated. This is meant to encourage more people to lodge their complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman,” the release continued; that all investigations it carried, were done in camera; that one of its annual reports sent to the National Assembly, does not include names of persons in line with Section 15(3) of the Ombudsman Act, because the report of the National Assembly is a public document, but the identities of the people were meant not to be revealed. The press release strongly distanced itself from reports bearing the findings of the investigation that circulated on social media.
As readers can recall, over 200 staffers of SSHFC signed a petition addressed to the Secretary General, Office of the President, demanding their MD Muhammed Manjang, be removed from his position due to maladministration and corruption. They lodged a complaint to the Ombudsman and this report is now on social media.