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PNG’s anti-corruption champion Chief Ombudsman Manek dies after illness

Chronox Manek

Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek … survived a 2009 assassination attempt but has now died. Image: David Robie/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the Pacific Media Centre news desk

Papua New Guinea’s Chief Ombudsman, Chronox Manek, who fought hard to oust corruption in his country, has died after a long illness.

Manek became Chief Ombudsman in 2008 and in spite of being shot in an assassination attempt in 2009, continued on in the job until last month when he was forced to stop work by his ill health.

He led several investigations into high profile political leaders, including former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who was outspoken in his criticism of the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman Commission announced Manek had died at his home in Korobosea, Port Moresby, on Monday.

Manek had been ill since April this year and had sought medical treatment overseas.

The officers of the commission described him as a very “down to earth” leader who came down to their level.

“He knew everyone by name and we will greatly miss his presence and his leadership. The people of PNG have lost another great leader,” the commission said.

‘Great loss’
The chairman of Transparency International Papua New Guinea, Lawrence Stephens, said Manek’s death was a great loss for the country, Radio New Zealand International reported.

“He was such a well-liked person and it is quite a loss to everybody, he said. “A quiet person, relatively humble but very well known by many people and well liked by many. He’ll be sorely missed.”

Manek was from Wambangan village in the Boana district of Morobe province. He held a Masters of Law degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Papua New Guinea.

Manek was appointed Public Solicitor of PNG in February 1999 and later appointed Public Prosecutor in 2001.

In 2008, Manek commenced his six-year term as the fifth Chief Ombudsman after having been selected by the Ombudsman Appointment Committee on July 1, 2008.

This year would have been Manek’s fifth-year of his six-year term in office as the Chief Ombudsman.

During the course of his career, Manek had been appointed to a number of organisations both in the country and abroad, notably, co-chairman of the International Association of Prosecutors World Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark; director, Asia Crime Prevention and Foundation; director of the International Ombudsman Institute; vice chairman of the Pacific Ombudsman Alliance and executive committee of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA).

He was a member of the PNG Law Society.

Manek is survived by his wife, Vagi Manek, and son Sangrima Manek.

Source: Post-Courier/Radio NZ International