President calls for implementation of Ombudsman’s recommendations

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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

President George Vella has urged the authorities to implement the Ombudsman’s recommendations when possible.

During a visit to the Ombudsman’s Office in Valletta, President Vella said that the office is undermined when the recommendations put forward are not respected by the authorities and departments under the Ombudsman’s scrutiny.

President Vella remarked that no one is more independent than the Ombudsman, who gives an opinion as fair as possible for things to go the way they should. He also spoke on how individuals should not need to have a direct interest in an issue in order to draw the Ombudsman’s attention to what they consider as wrong or unfair.

Since its inception, 25 years ago, the Ombudsman’s Office has investigated over 15,000 complaints, Mifsud said. He explained that the number of complaints since 1995 halved for various reasons, including the fact that, over time, many public bodies have been privatized, and, therefore, the Office of the Ombudsman no longer has jurisdiction over them.

Further the nature of complaints has also changed as while in the past most complaints were related to utility bills. Mifsud explained that the nature of today’s complaints were more complex for example relating to online gambling and citizenship issues.

Mifsud said that sometimes the public complained about delays for a case to be closed explaining that this can sometimes be the result of delays from the concerned department’s side in providing the information requested by the investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Commissioner for Health, Mr Charles Messina, and the Commissioner for Environment and Planning, Perit Alan Saliba were present for the visit.

President Vella paid tribute to the memory of Charles Caruana Carabez who held the post of Commissioner for Education and who passed away recently.

The Ombudsman presented the president with a donation collected by the Office for the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation.

President Vella commended Ombudsman Anthony Mifsud and all the staff.