New Ombudsman to await court of appeal sentence on army complaints

New Ombudsman Anthony Mifsud says he will have to await the sentence by the court of appeal to determine how to react in the army complaints case

New Ombudsman Anthony Mifsud has said he will have to await the sentence by the court of appeal in order to determine what to do next in the army complaints case.

Speaking after the swearing in ceremony, Mifsud said that he was also aware of a number of discussions being held to seek a possible reconciliation.

Mifsud’s predecessor Jospeh Said Pullicino had filed an unprecedented lawsuit against home affairs minister Carmelo Abela and permanent secretary Kevin Mahoney calling on the law courts to recognise his right to investigate army promotions granted in September 2013.

The case, which started under Abela’s predecessor Manwel Mallia, has been dragging for the past year with the government refusing to recognise Said Pullicino’s jurisdiction over army promotions.

In these promotions a number of army majors where promoted to lieutenant colonels while a number of lieutenant colonels were promoted to the rank of colonel. Subsequently a number of army officers complained to the ombudsman alleging that they had suffered an injustice because officers with less experience had been promoted. 

The ombudsman started his investigations and asked the commander of the army to submit all documentation related to the case but in December 2013 the commander informed him that officers should lodge their complaints to the President through the Home affairs Ministry. 

Mifsud was also quizzed on Said Pullicino’s criticism of the government for ignoring recommendations on an investigation into Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg.

Although reluctant to comment on the case involving a planning permit issued for Borg’s private property in Dingli, Mifsud said that the criticism came from someone “with a lot of experience”.