A judgment confirming the Ombudsman’s authority to investigate complaints by army officers was today confirmed by the Court of Appeal.
The case had been instituted by the Ombudsman Joseph Said Pullicino against the Home Affairs Minister and permanent secretary Kevin Mahoney.
The dispute revolved around a number of controversial promotions handed out in September 2013, most notably that of Jeffrey Curmi, who obtained four promotions - from major to brigadier - in a matter of months.
The first court, presided by Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff, had thrown out the arguments made by then Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia, who claimed that the law precluded the Ombudsman from investigating complaints by Armed Forces of Malta officials before these would have exhausted all other avenues to seek redress.
Dr Said Pullicino had argued he was being obstructed in considering complaints from AFM officers, with Dr Mallia insisting that the Ombudsman had no jurisdiction over army officers.
Mr Justice Mintoff had ruled that the Ombudsman had every right to investigate any complaints on appointments, promotions, salaries and pension rights of any AFM officials.
The court also ruled that it was up to the Ombudsman to decide whether to investigate cases when effective remedies were not available.
A Court of Appeal, presided by Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri, Justice Giannino Caruana Demajo and Justice Tonio Mallia, today rejected the Home Affairs Minister’s appeal.
Lawyer Henri Mizzi appeared for the Ombudsman and lawyer Victoria Buttigieg for the appellants.
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