Name: John Smith PITABELAMA

Date of Birth: 27th May 1956

Status in Family: Seventh Born in the Family of 8 )

Father’s Name: David TANAVALU 

Mother’s Name: Ribbie TABERUA

Name of spouse: Susie PITABELAMA

Number of Children: 2 boys and 2 girls:

Home Address: Soranamola, East Choiseul, Choiseul province.


1965-1967 Soranamola Primary School

1968-1971 Panqoe Primary School

1972-1976 Goldie College


1994-1998 University of the South Pacific Bachelor of Law Diploma in Legal practice

1999 University of Leister, United Kingdom Postgraduate in Police Management


Jan 1977-sept 1977 Royal Solomon Islands Police Recruit

1978-1979 General Police duties

1980-1993 Criminal Investigation Department (CID)

1994 Director of Training (Prior to taking up of scholarship)

2001-2006 Ombudsman of the Solomon Islands

2007-Now JSP Legal Services, Barrister & Solicitor


1993 Intermediate (Certificate) in EOD, Australian Army

1990 OFC Intermediate Coaching Certificate (Soccer)

1991 Commissioner of Police Commendation

1991 Professional Detective Work output

2005 Awarded OBE Medal


Mr. John Smith Pitabelama was appointed as Solomon Islands Ombudsman during one of the darkest times (the ethnic tension period) in the history of Solomon Islands. One of his visions and priorities then was to inform the people of the roles and functions of the Office of the Ombudsman and what the Ombudsman can do for its citizens. During that period citizens had experienced a lot of irregular and corrupt practices from public officials. The Ombudsman’s strategy then was to increase public awareness about the roles and functions of the Office and encourage people to report incidences of maladministration and corrupt behaviour suspected within the government agencies. There was lack of confidence and trust in the government agencies and its administrative systems by citizens. This was a daunting task to rebuild it again.

The office was relocated from Kalala House where it used to be since 1982 to the Ministry of Communication and Meteorology Office building at Vavaya Ridge. The office space was very small and the Ombudsman and his staff were cramped under the floor of the Ministry’s office building. The office accessibility was another problem as it was located far away from the main centre of city.  As it was, the priority then was for the Ombudsman to acquire a proper office space within the city where it can be readily accessible to its citizens. 

In protest to the government for the allocation of a proper office, the Ombudsman decided to close its doors to the public from May to October of 2003. The Solomon Islands Government took the Ombudsman’s protest into consideration and gave approval for the office to move to the Solomon Islands Postal Corporation building on rental basis. 

The Ombudsman, Mr. John Smith Pitabelama was also instrumental in pushing for the recruitment of additional staff and demanded an improved budgetary allocation for the Ombudsman’s Office. Since the establishment of the office all successive governments had failed to see the importance of the Ombudsman’s roles and functions. The Ombudsman’s cry was finally being heard by the Sogavare Government then. Recruitment of additional trained staff and an improved budget allocation was granted in 2004. This enabled the Office to reach out to schools and communities around the country. 

In an effort to get support from leaders and senior officials of the government the Office of the Ombudsman organized workshops for Members of Parliament and Premiers of the Provincial Assemblies. This was funded by the Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI), Australia, and was held at the King Solomon Hotel.

During the period as an Ombudsman, Mr. John Smith Pitabelama also organized a series of workshops on Accountability and Good Governance for:

  1. Public Servants and Provincial Direct Employees
    1. In Gizo for Western and Choiseul Provinces
    2. In Kira Kira for Temotu and Makira Province
    3. In Auki for Malaita Province
    4. In Honiara for Central, Renbell, Guadalcanal, Isabel Provinces and Honiara city Council.
  2. Similar Workshops were also organized for Principals of National, Provincial and community High Schools.

An Own Motion Investigation into Misuse of Public Funds by Public Servants in the Choiseul Provincial Government was carried out in 2006. A report was compiled in which a number of recommendations were provided to the Choiseul Provincial Government for action.