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Seychelles: Office of the Ombudsman

Updated August 2009

The Office of the Ombudsman is established by the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles 1993 in Articles 143 and 144. The Ombudsman is appointed by the President from candidates nominated by the Constitutional Appointments Authority and serves a term of seven years which is renewable. Schedule 5 of the Constitution defines the powers of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman man investigate any public authority up to and including the President (Schedule 5, 1(1)(a)). The investigations include complaints of violations of fundamental human rights and allegations of corruption by public officials (Schedule 5, 1(1)(b); 1(2)(a)). Schedule 5 also places restrictions on what may be investigated. The President or a cabinet minister may halt an investigation by certifying that the matter "may affect the relation or dealing between the Government of Seychelles and any other Government or international organisation, the security of the Republic or the investigation of crime" (Schedule 5, 2(a)). The Ombudsman may also not investigate the performance of any judicial function or a person performing a judicial function (Schedule 5, 2(b)).

Powers to subpoena testimony and documents and of access to premises are similar to those of a judge of the Supreme Court, but these are restricted by the right of the President or the Attorney-General to issue certificates restraining the Ombudsman under certain conditions (Schedule 5, 4). In the case of the President the certificate must be based on prejudice to the security of the Republic or its international relations or because it requires the disclosure of Cabinet discussion and in the case of the Attorney-General because it may prejudice a criminal investigation. If wrong doing is found the Ombudsman is empowered to send a report to the relevant executive authority detailing finds, the basis for the findings, recommendations and remedies that are required and may include a reasonable time limit within which the measures are to be acted on (Schedule 5, 6(1),(3)). If the report is not timeously acted on the Ombudsman may submit the report to the President or the National Assembly to act on (Schedule 5, 6(4)). The Ombudsman is required to make an annual report in January to the National Assembly on the work performed in the previous year (Schedule 5, 6(6)).

References

CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES 1993 (amended 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2000), [www] http://www.cmseducation.org/wconsts/seychelles.html [opens new window] (accessed 23 Feb 2010).

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