Frequently Asked Questions

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Allegations of Misconduct

Allegations of Misconduct

Allegations of misconduct or indiscipline against officers in Public Service are serious because they have potential adverse effects on a public officer’s career and livelihood.
For this reason, investigations into any allegation of misconduct or indiscipline against public officers must be dealt with in a timely and professional manner.
It is also important that any public officer who commits acts of misconduct knows that he/she will be brought to account in a relatively short space of time.

Further, there are legal implications to the Statutory Authorities Commission if the investigation of allegations are not dealt with in accordance timely manner. The Statutory Authorities Service Commission must always comply with its own regulations.

It was also thought that the Public Service Investigations Unit should be staffed by legally trained professionals so as to reduce possible challenges to the legality of the process.

What are the timelines for dealing with investigations into allegations of misconduct or indiscipline against a public officer?

The power to investigate allegations of misconduct can be found in Regulation 90 of the Public Service Commission Regulations as amended by LN 41/ 2008 which states:

2. The Public Service Commission Regulations are amended in regulation 90—

(a) By deleting sub regulations (1), (2) and (5) and substituting the following sub regulations:

“(1) Where a report or allegation of indiscipline or misconduct by an officer is received other than a report or allegation of indiscipline to which regulation 85 applies, the Permanent Secretary or Head of Department shall report the matter to the Director for the attention of the Commission and concurrently warn the officer in writing of the report or allegation of indiscipline or misconduct.

(2) An Investigating Officer (IO) shall be appointed by the Director from the Public Service Investigations Unit to investigate the report or allegation.

(3) The investigating officer shall, within three days of his appointment, give the officer a written notice specifying the time, not exceeding seven days from the date of the receipt of such notice, within which he may, in writing, give an explanation concerning the report or allegation to the investigating officer.

(4) The investigating officer shall require those persons who have direct knowledge of the alleged indiscipline or misconduct to make written statements within seven days for the information of the Commission.

 (5) The investigating officer shall with all possible dispatch but not later than thirty (30) days from the date of his appointment, forward to the Director of Personnel Administration for the information of the Commission an investigating officer’s report consisting of the original statements and all relevant documents together with his own report on the particular act;…’

The IO is appointed by the Director of Personnel Administration to conduct investigations into allegations of misconduct against public officers. The Investigating Officer initially has 30 days in which to complete her investigation. This time can be further extended by another 30 days (Regulation 90 (5)).  Within the 30- or 60-day time limit the IO must within the first three days of his/her appointment inform the officer under investigation by way of written notice that he is to provide a written explanation in response to the allegations (Regulation 90 (3)). Falling within the 30-day period is the need for the IO to write to persons who have direct knowledge of the matters complained asking them to provide a written statement in seven days.

Why the need to adhere to the timeframe as stipulated in the regulation?

When the Commission exercises the function of discipline it is exercising a quasi-judicial function. There are therefore time frames built into each stage of the disciplinary process. These ensure fairness in the process. In order for discipline to be effective it must be timely.  The courts have also pronounced on the need for adherence to these time frames.  In the matter of Herbert Charles v J&LSC the court stated that minor breaches of the time frame set out in the regulations would not negatively impact on the process but that major breaches of the timelines set out in the regulations would vitiate the proceedings.  It is therefore important to adhere to the time frames in the regulations.

What happens after an investigation report is submitted?

The report is forwarded to the Public Service Commission who having regard to the report of the IO and the Public Officers response decides whether or no he should be charged with an offence.


How can an officer make a complaint?

Letters from officers should be submitted through their Permanent Secretary/Head of Department and copied to the Statutory Authorities Service Commission.

What is a judicial review?

Judicial review is a type of court proceeding in which a Judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body.  Therefore if one is unhappy with the decision of a public body one may be able to challenge the decision by taking judicial review proceedings in the High Court.

Section 5(1) of the Judicial Review Act No.60 of 2000 provides as follows:-

“An application for judicial review of a decision of an inferior court, tribunal, public body, public authority or a person acting in the exercise of a public duty or function in accordance with any law shall be made to the Court in accordance with this Act and in such manner as may be prescribed by rules of court”.

On what grounds can I file/request a judicial review?

Section 5(3) of the Judicial Review Act No.60 of 2000 outlines the grounds upon which a person may apply for judicial review.  The section provides as follows:-

“The grounds upon which the Court may grant relief to a person who filed an application for judicial review includes the following:-

(a)    that the decision was in any way unauthorized or contrary to law;
(b)    excess of jurisdiction;
(c)    failure to satisfy or observe conditions or procedures required by law;
(d)    breach of the principles of natural justice;
(e)    unreasonable, irregular or improper exercise of discretion;
(f)     abuse of power;
(g)    fraud, bad faith, improper purpose or irrelevant consideration;
(h)    acting on instructions from an unauthorized person;
(i)     conflict with the policy of an Act;
(j)     error of law, whether or not apparent on the face of the record;
(k)    absence of evidence on which a finding or assumption of fact could reasonably be based;
(l)     breach of or omission to perform a duty;
(m)   deprivation of a legitimate expectation;
(n)    a defect in form or a technical irregularity resulting in a substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice; or
(o)    an exercise of a power in a manner that is so unreasonable that no reasonable person could have exercised the power.

The natural justice principles referred to in sub section 3(d) are the underlying principles of fairness which guide the process of informed decision making.  The two fundamental rules of fair procedure are –

(1)    a man may not be a judge in his own cause;
(2)    a man’s defence must always be fairly heard.

The principles of natural justice are –

(i)    The right to a fair hearing which includes –
(a)    the right to make representation before a decision is made;
(b)    the right to call witnesses and have their testimony heard;
(ii)    The right to be heard by an unbiased Tribunal;
(iii)    The duty to act fairly;
(iv)   The right to have notice of charges brought against you and to know the particulars of the charges;
(v)    The right to reason for a decision.


I wish to be transferred to another Ministry.  How do I get a transfer?

You are required to state your request in writing, giving the reasons for your request and indicating the Ministry to which you wish to be transferred.  Your letter should be submitted through the Permanent Secretary or Head of Department of your Ministry.  When received in the Statutory Authorities Service Commission, your letter will be placed on file and recorded in a request for transfer and your request will be considered along with those of other officers who requested transfers, on the occurrence of a suitable vacancy.

I am a temporary officer. How do I get a transfer?

Temporary officers are not transferred. However, you can submit a letter requesting a new temporary appointment in another Ministry/Department through your Permanent Secretary/Head of Department (Human Resource Unit). Your Permanent Secretary/Head of Department must then forward the original letter of request to the Statutory Authorities Service Commission along with their necessary comments.

Upon receipt, your letter of request will be acknowledged and recorded in the Request For New Appointment Register.  On occurrence of a suitable vacancy in the requested Ministry/Department your letter of request will be considered.

How soon will I get the transfer?

This depends on your position on the Request for New appointment Register and the availability of a long-term arrangement.

Freedom of Information Act

How can an officer make a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, 1999?

Applicants must make their request in writing by completing the ‘Request for Information’ form available in the Reception Area of the Statutory Authorities Service Commission.

What is the timeframe for furnishing documents for inspection after receiving an application for information under the Freedom of Information Act, 1999?

Reasonable steps will be taken to notify applicants of the approval or refusal of their requests as soon as practicable but no more than 30 days from the date of receipt of the requests. If the deadline is not met, applicants have the right to proceed as if their requests have been denied.

Statutory Authorities Service Commission is required to furnish copies of documents only when they are in our possession or where we can retrieve them from storage.

What documents are exempt from inspection under the Freedom of Information Act, 1999?

Documents exempt from inspection include: –

•    Internal working documents
•    Documents subject to legal privilege
•    Documents affecting personal privacy
•    Documents containing material obtained in confidence
•    Documents to which secrecy provisions apply

What requests are not handled under the Freedom of Information Act, 1999?

A request will not be processed to the extent that it asks for information, which is currently available in the public domain, either from Statutory Authorities Service Commission or from another public authority, for example brochures and pamphlets.

Appointments and Confirmations

I am a temporary officer?  How soon will I be permanently appointed?

This depends on the availability of permanent vacancies and your position on the Seniority List / Order of Merit List of the particular office and satisfactory Performance Appraisal Reports.

I was appointed subject to medical fitness and on two years’ probation. My probationary period has expired but my appointment is yet to be confirmed.  When will my appointment be confirmed?

If your probationary period expired before 1st June, 2006, and providing that the Permanent Secretary has submitted:

•    all probationary reports on your work and conduct
•    a medical certificate of fitness for permanent employment in the public service
•    blood test results
•    a recommendation for the confirmation of your appointment
•    and, where necessary, any other documents relating to conditions of your employment the matter will be submitted to the Statutory Authorities Service Commission as soon as possible for your appointment to be confirmed.

However if your probationary period expired on or after 1st June, 2006, the Permanent Secretary is required to pursue the confirmation of your appointment in accordance with the powers delegated to him/her by the Statutory Authorities Commission.  In this case, your enquiry should be directed to the Human Resource Management Unit of the Ministry.