In a recent session of the National Assembly, the Minister of Justice, Yvonne Dausab, took the floor to clarify the role of the Ministry of Justice and address concerns raised by PDM MP Hidipo Hamata.
The Minister emphasised that the Ministry of Justice does not have authority over prosecutorial decisions, as this falls under the purview of the Prosecutor General, an independent constitutional office. Yvonne Dausab explained that the Ministry of Justice's responsibility is purely administrative, including budgeting and providing support to the Prosecutor General's office.
"There is no direct involvement in prosecutorial decisions, which are made primarily by the Prosecutor General and designated to other prosecutors within the office."
Dausab encouraged members of the public with concerns about court proceedings to direct them to the relevant institutions, as the Ministry of Justice does not have control over these matters. Specifically addressing MP Hamata's questions regarding the Prosecutor General's office, the Minister highlighted inaccuracies in a newspaper article that was the basis for some of the concerns.
The Minister clarified that certain prosecutors mentioned in the article were still in their positions, while others had taken up roles in the judiciary.
"I must highlight that although most of the questions are based on a newspaper article, the article is not entirely truthful and accurate. The article very specifically states that there are six prosecutors. The degree of impartiality of prosecutors is limited to the authority of the Prosecutor General in deciding whether to prosecute the person suspected of having committed a crime."
Dausab also acknowledged the disparity in salaries and benefits between prosecutors and magistrates, attributing this difference to the distinct roles and authorities of the two positions.
She assured that the Ministry of Justice was aware of the shortage of prosecutors and had taken steps to address it, including creating additional positions.