Almost half the members of the Armed Forces of Malta are still awaiting redress about injustices they claim to have suffered over the years despite the conclusion of a grievance procedure more than three years ago, Times of Malta has learnt.
Sources said some 700 officers and other ranks had been interviewed by the Board of Injustices set up by the government in 2017 and chaired by Col. Alexander Dalli, now the prisons director.
Before he was appointed to head Corradino Correctional Facility in June 2018, Dalli had concluded the process and submitted his report to the relevant authorities.
However, three years later, the soldiers have still to hear of the outcome or see any form of justice.
A spokesperson for the Home Affairs Ministry told Times of Malta when asked about the matter that “the process is still ongoing”.
“The government remains committed to enhancing the conditions of all disciplined forces not least the AFM. Testament to this is the first collective agreement signed with the AFM.”
She added that the process aims to address injustices that took place “under the pre-2013 administration, which saw many people suffering from discrimination”.
“It must be noted that there were also several reports filed with the office of the Ombudsman, which have drastically been reduced post-2013.
“This government kept its focus in achieving an unprecedented sectorial agreement with the AFM, resulting in an investment of €8 million increase every year for five years. To this end and for the first time, the AFM members also benefited from the enhancement of their working conditions,” she said.
Promotions handed out like hot cakes
The sources said that with the general election looming, there was a possibility of a repeat of 2017 when half the army was promoted during the electoral campaign, which was unprecedented in the army’s history.
885 promotions had been handed out like hot cakes during the 33-day-long electoral campaign, some of them backdated by 20 years.
This was the result of an AFM Complaints Board set up by then-Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela under the leadership of retired Brigadier Maurice Calleja who had to resign from the army when his son, Meinrad, was caught for his involvement in the importation of drugs.
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