The Ombudsman’s plaintive complaint that none of the office’s referrals have been actively considered by parliament has led that office to believe that ‘…the final safeguard to provide redress against injustice to aggrieved citizens, is proving to be ineffective’. The reading of the case notes, which, as the Ombudsman’s report itself describes as ‘concise and readable’ indicate several areas where redress is required.
Soldiers up in arms
Following a complaint by six AFM officers, the Ombudsman noted that what originated as a vacancy for two Lieutenant Colonels, ended up with eight promotions. He described the selection Board as ‘strange’ with 4 out of 5 members being of non-military background or experience. The selection process was found wanting and ‘ It transpired that there were indications that there were indications that certain Board members were influenced by instructions given by their political masters'(p15). In spite of the fact that the Ombudsman found the process to be vitiated and made recommendations since the complainants had ‘suffered an injustice as a result of an act of maladministration’ the Minister and the Prime Minister did not accept the recommendations.
Case of the Boys in Blue
The People and Standards division of the Police force too, refused to act on the recommendations of the Ombudsman when he found for two former officers who had been denied the right ti be paid for outstanding vacation leave following termination of employment. The Ombudsman concluded that the law was being broken and if steps were not taken to redress the situation, he would be flagging the matter up to the EU institutions. After an initial discussion, the the Police Force, backed by the Office of the Prime Minister informed the Ombudsman that their position remained as per the original decision.
‘Housing Authority respects Ombudsman Institution’
The Ombudsman’s case notes in the case of the Housing Authority found it necessary to underline that that Authority showed respect. An employee’s complaint that he was not given equal treatment when he applied for a position was upheld by the Ombudsman who said that the call was ‘tailor-made’ and the case was manifestly one of ‘bad administration (p28). The Housing Authority, wrote the Ombudsman, ‘purely out of respect for the office’ , implemented partially the recommendations and made a financial settlement as a final settlement.