A total of 111 members of the Armed Forces received financial compensation and promotions on the advice of a complaints’ commission, tasked to probe allegations of injustices dating back to the previous Administration.

The army acted on the commission’s recommendations for deserving cases

This was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the Home Affairs Ministry who told The Sunday Times of Malta that 62 per cent of the cases dealt with by this commission were deemed justified.

“The army acted on the commission’s recommendations for deserving cases and these included compensation for money due and promotions,” she said.

However, details on the ranks directly affected by these decisions and the subsequent increase in the army wage bill were not given.

Set up a year ago, the commission headed by former Armed Forces Commander Brigadier Maurice Calleja was also tasked to come up with recommendations. Last February, the government said almost two thirds of the 213 complaints filed had been upheld.

This decision had raised eyebrows among the Opposition benches, with doubts being cast about the methodology adopted by the complaints’ board. As a result, Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi filed a request, through Parliament, requesting Ombudsman Joseph Said Pullicino to probe how the investigation was led. However, Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia vehemently objected arguing that such probe would be outside the Ombudsman’s remit as army personnel had other avenues to seek redress.

Tensions between the government and the Ombudsman’s Office rose to unprecedented levels and following a number of public exchanges, both sides filed a judicial protest.

On his part, the Ombudsman questioned the ministry’s seeming refusal to cooperate in establishing “the truth” behind complaints filed by army officers over promotions, pay and pension rights.

In a counter protest filed last week, Dr Mallia reiterated his argument insisting that by law the Ombudsman could not be expected to go outside the parameters of the law and so could not look into such cases.

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