Ombudsman to meet Mallia over army promotions dispute

Following legal dispute between Ombudsman Joseph Said Pullicino and home affairs minister Manuel Mallia on army promotions, the two are to meet this week

The institutional standoff between Parliamentary Ombudsman Joseph Said Pullicino and Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia on army promotions is to be treated at a head to head meeting this week.

It is a month since Minister Mallia announced he had requested the meeting with Said Pullicino and it has now been scheduled for later this week.

Minister Mallia contends that the ombudsman has no jurisdiction over the army. He also contends that this opinion was expressed by the office of the ombudsman in 2003 – two years before Said Pullicino’s appointment, when an investigating officer refused to investigate a complaint lodged by an army officer over promotions before exhausting all other channels.

The ombudsman, who disagrees with the interpretation given in 2003, is adamant in affirming his political independence, arguing that he is simply reiterating what he told the previous government in 2009 when he was faced by complaints from army officers with regard to promotions and he insisted on the ombudsman’s right to investigate complaints by army officers.

“It is simply not true that I treated this issue differently under a different administration… This issue was tackled and resolved in 2009,” Said Pullicino said.

Read the full interview in today’s edition of MaltaToday on Sunday