The Malta Association of Professional Engineers has filed a judicial protest claiming that the decision by the Engineering Profession Board to extend the appointment of three of its members by a simple announcement in the Government Gazette was abusive.

The protest was filed on Thursday in the First Hall of the Civil Court after a notice published by the board, operating within the Transport Ministry, on the Government Gazette on April 17.

By means of that notice, it was announced that the appointment of the three warranted engineers, elected on a two-year basis to the seven-member board, was being extended for a 6-month period until elections could take place.

Their term on the board had lapsed on March 12, 2020.

This decision went beyond the board’s powers and was “not at all acceptable,” argued the protesting union in its judicial act filed against the board and the three members in question, namely, Joseph Abela, Anthony Cachia and Andrew Caruana. 

The union also pointed out that it had written to the minister on June 8, calling for the election to take place and had even forwarded three potential candidates. 

But the request was turned down, the reply stating that the extension was “legitimate”.

Such a manoeuvre appears to have been “specifically intended” to allow a series of long-proposed amendments to the Engineering Profession Act, to be ushered through parliament before the summer recess, observed the union, adding that this was “abusive and irresponsible.”

Moreover, the union had never been consulted by the board about the proposed amendments which had been “concocted behind its back” and appeared to “be intended to eliminate the professional engineer,” it said, arguing that this was “not expected in a democratic society.”

In the light of all this, the union called upon the board to desist from holding further meetings, to stop such irresponsible behaviour and not to table the amendments in parliament.

As for the three “non-lawfully elected” members on the board, the union called upon them not to carry on regardless, adding that it would take further legal action as necessary.

Lawyer Michael Tanti-Dougall signed the judicial protest. 

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