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Today’s joke is the Ombudsman, Mr S&M Hatteea, although one might say that the Office of the Ombudsman has been a joke since Independence. For those who don’t know, the purpose of the Ombudsman is to help a member of the public who has suffered injustice from any officer of any department of Government, the police or the prison service (somewhat topical). The only exclusions are the President, the Chief Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions. He has powers of investigation equal to those of the Supreme Court. In other words, he is like ICAC on steroids.

At least that is the theory. In practice, the current Ombudsman is an old pussy cat who has lost his claws. Only when reminded of his Constitutional powers does he wake up from his slumber and actually do anything of any use except pass letters between the aggrieved party and his/her tormentors. We have been asking the Ombudsman for most of this year to sort out our approval with the committee of the CSR Fund. Please check our previous post for the details: When is an NGO not an NGO?

We thought we were getting somewhere when he promised to arrange a meeting with the departments concerned. Then the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Security stroked him in just the right way and now he is purring to the Government’s tune once more. Here is his latest letter to us:

First of all, we must congratulate the Ombudsman for having finally formed an opinion. Second, we are pleased to know, at last, on what basis we have not been approved as an NGO. Unfortunately, there has been a mistake, since both our Directors satisfy the second exception clause of having more than two years experience in environmental protection in Mauritius. In fact, Dr Richard L Munisamy started volunteering for Reef Conservation Mauritius in May 2007 and Eugene Vitry started working for them full-time in June 2007. This information is readily available on our website.

If the Mad Hatteea had bothered giving us a call, then we could easily have sorted this out. Since he could not be bothered, we must execute our threat and ask the President to initiate a tribunal to determine whether he is incompetent or corrupt. However, we are not over-confident. We suspect that our senile old President, who believes “ICAC is not a toothless bulldog”, is as impotent and demented as the Ombudsman. Like the Mad Hatteea, Sir Analrod Jugnauth appears to have lost his balls along with his marbles. According to the Constitution, these are grounds for his removal and that will be our next step.

Having researched the role of the Ombudsman, we feel compelled to ask the question: why does ICAC exist? Surely its job falls under the Ombudsman’s remit? After all, a victim of corruption must, by definition, have suffered an injustice. It is another of those “Great Mysteries of Mauritius” which we will explore another time. For those who want to help, start here or here. For those who want to learn more about tea parties, click on the image above.