On 14th September, Marcelino Nguema Onguene presented his annual report on activities during the 2015-2016 period to the Chamber of Deputies, in a plenary session which took place at the parliamentary headquarters in Bomundi.
The report began with the first actions undertaken in order to render operational this new constitutional body, which arose through the latest reform of Basic Law, such as the drawing up of its internal regulations, the setting up of regulations for the handling of complaints and appeals, information and orientation for the citizen, together with the provision of material, human and financial resources.
The orientation service provided by the Ombudsman as direct assistance for the people in relation to departments within Public Administration, works through three ways; presidential, telephone and virtual, via the internet. This orientation and assistance refers mainly to diverse requests regarding how to handle files, request aid and support in conflict resolution, and information regarding the competence and functions of this new body.
Nguema Onguene reported that the Ombudsman’s Office received a total of 1,008 formal complaints and 655 requests for orientation and assistance for the citizen.
The majority of these complaints were in relation to public administration, and almost 50% were in relation to the Ministry for Justice, due to the lack of execution of final sentences, the lack of procedural progress by the courts and tribunals, the appropriation of funds paid as compensation due to severance payments, and the impotence of the citizen to benefit from due legal process.
With regards to other departments within the administration, the complaints about Public Works and Infrastructures, Town Planning, Agriculture and food, Finance and Budgets, National Security, and town halls stand out, in relation to diverse matters, such as the payment of approved orders, poor treatment of the citizen, expropriation, unjustified fines, and abuse of authority.
Nguema Onguene, accompanied by his deputies Reginaldo Egido Panades and Luis Megogo Role, clarified that, despite those difficulties, there are complaints from all provinces, although in various proportions, and contact with the ombudsman is maintained through envoys or non-regular commissions.
It is men who have mainly gone to the Ombusdman looking for responses, solutions or help, and more people between the ages of 31 and 50, followed by those over 51.
The Parliamentary High Commissioner for the Defence of Citizens’ Rights also gathers advice issued to State institutions and Administration services, in order to modify the production criteria for some acts and resolutions, on various matters, such as the reincorporation of employees in their places of work, the need to improve the handling of cases of forced expropriation, the possibility of improving the regulations applicable to girls and pregnant women to attend classes in primary and basic education, and the need to improve the operation of certain autonomous bodies and the payment by the General State Treasury of authorised costs.
The Ombudsman also highlighted other activities dealt with by the institution, such as attending seminars and conferences, and concluded by pointing out the need for citizens to acquire publications containing the regulations and provisions that are periodically issued by regional and international bodies of which our country is a member, such as the CEMAC, OHADA, BEAC, COBAC, SEBEVIRA, and others.
The Ombudsman also announced that offices were now reserved in four provinces in the Continental Region, pending use, when certain conditions improve.
The three parliamentary groups, through their spokespersons, gave their impressions regarding the report, and the Mixed Group declared its desire that the work of the Ombudsman contributed towards resolving citizens’ problems, before the deficiencies that were noted in the operation of Judicial Power, while the Democratic Coalition and the PDGE Group praised the dynamism of the actions carried out, and wished the institution well for the future.
The plenary session took place under the moderation of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Gaudencio Mohaba Mesu, who also praised the Ombudsman for the quality of his report.
The day was also marked by the presentation of reports from parliamentary delegations that took part in various forums in recent months, and in the any other business section, the deputies congratulated themselves on the excellent work carried out during this seventh legislature, featuring the passing of numerous laws, the passing of the annual State budgets, and the resolution of various complaints presented by citizens.
The period of sessions closed on 15th September.
Source: Official Web Page of the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea