Ombudsman Act, 1980

Powers of the Ombudsman in respect of examinations and investigations.

7.—(1) (a) The Ombudsman may, for the purposes of a preliminary examination, or an investigation, by him under this Act, require any person who, in the opinion of the Ombudsman, is in possession of information, or has a document or thing in his power or control, that is relevant to the examination or investigation to furnish that information, document or thing to the Ombudsman and, where appropriate, may require the person to attend before him for that purpose and the person shall comply with the requirements.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this subsection does not apply to information or so much of a document as relates to decisions and proceedings of the Government or of any committee of the Government and for the purposes of this paragraph, a certificate given by the Secretary to the Government and certifying that any information or document or part of a document so relates shall be conclusive.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a person to whom a requirement is addressed under this section shall be entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if he were a witness before the High Court.

(3) A person shall not by act or ommission obstruct or hinder the Ombudsman in the performance of his functions or do any other thing which would, if the Ombudsman were a court having power to commit for contempt of court, be contempt of such court.

(4) Any obligation to maintain secrecy or other restriction upon the disclosure of information obtained by or furnished to a Department of State or civil servant imposed by the Official Secrets Act, 1963 , shall not apply to an examination or investigation by the Ombudsman under this Act, and, subject to section 9 (2) of this Act, the State shall not be entitled in relation to any such examination or investigation to any such privilege in respect of the production of documents or the giving of evidence as is allowed by law in legal proceedings.

(5) The Ombudsman may, if he thinks fit, pay to the person affected by an action in respect of which an investigation is held by the Ombudsman under this Act and to any other person who attends or furnishes information for the purposes of the investigation—

(a) sums in respect of travelling and subsistence expenses properly incurred by them, and

(b) allowances by way of compensation for loss of their time,

of such amount as may be determined by the Minister.

(6) A statement or admission made by a person in a preliminary examination, or investigation, under this Act by the Ombudsman shall not be admissible as evidence against that person in any criminal proceedings.

(7) Nothing in subsection (3) of this section shall be construed as applying to the taking of any such action as is mentioned in section 4 (7) of this Act.