The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) was established on the 28th of September 2016. The establishment was made possible after the amendment to the Constitution was passed by the Maneaba ni Maungatabu during the August/September 2016 session. The amendment pave a legal path to allow for an increase to the number of Ministries of the Government. At the same time removes the Attorney-General from Cabinet and the Maneaba ni Maungatabu. The Ministry of Justice is an Executive Branch of the Kiribati Government headed by the Minister of Justice. The Ministry is the lead administrator of justice in Kiribati and therefore responsible to administer legislation, deliver justice services and provides policy support and analysis on justice issues within Kiribati. It provides advice and support to the Executive.
The MOJ is mandated to:-
- Ensure that Kiribati is a just and law-abiding country with an accessible, efficient and fair system of justice for all;
- Promote respect for all rights and freedoms, the Rule of Law and the Constitution; and
- Promote awareness of individual responsibilities and civil obligations.
At inception on the 28th of September 2016, the first Minister for the MOJ Honorable Mr. Natan Teewe Brechtefeld MP was sworn into office. The Honorable Minister was the former Attorney-General and the last one to sit in Cabinet and in the Maneaba ni Maungatabu. The Honorable Minister was the first member of the Maneaba ni Maungatabu to be appointed to the Office of the Attorney-General. In his inaugurations remarks, the Hon Minister considered his new Ministry as a local outrigger canoe, engineered and commissioned to him to command. He is now responsible to sail and navigate it over the seas of challenges and uncertainty. The First Permanent Secretary for Justice is Mr. Birimaka Tekanene the former Solicitor General. Mr. Tekanene has dedicated his career life to working at the Office of the Attorney-General since 2001. In 2009, he was appointed the first I-Kiribati to take up the post of Solicitor General. During the transitional period, the MOJ has to struggle since all of its departments were under other ministries. At the same time, MOJ was founded out of and from the Office of the Attorney-General.