Engineers file court protest over 'illegal' composition of Engineering Profession Board

Malta Association of Professional Engineers file judicial protest contesting Engineering Profession Board members’ appointment

The engineering lobby is contesting the composition of the Engineering Profession Board, describing it as illegal, after no election was held to choose its members.

The Malta Association of Professional Engineers (MAPE) filed a judicial protest this morning, contesting the board members’ appointments, which were extended by a government fiat.

The board is composed of seven members: a chairman, three members elected under the Engineering Profession Act and three elected from amongst the holders of an engineering warrant.

The law specifies that the elected members hold their positions for two years, after which they may be re-elected.

In the judicial protest filed against the Board and elected members Joseph Abela, Anthony Cachia and Andrew Caruana, MAPE is arguing that the term of office of the three elected under the EPA had run out in March. But instead of an election being held to determine the new holders of the position, the Minister had published a note in the government gazette, approving a six month extension of the three members’ appointments.

This had been done ultra vires (by overreaching its powers) said the association.

The intention behind the potentially illegal extension was to protect a series of amendments to the Engineering Profession Act “that would eliminate the profession of engineer,” argues MAPE.

No consultation with the association was made, MAPE said, thereby leaving a party, with an interest in the amendments, out of the discussion.

The amendments were not made in the best interests of the profession and were put together behind the union’s back, it said, describing this fact as “shameful and not expected in a democratic society.”

“The obvious question that MAPE asks…is why the Board steadfastly refused to meet the union if not because it knew that this exercise, which had been years in the making…. was not in the interests of the profession.”

Lawyer Michael Tanti-Dougall signed the protest.

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