The Parliamentary Ombudsman notes the judgement delivered this morning by the First Hall Civil Court presided upon by the Hon Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff in connection with the court case instituted by his Office against the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security et that had raised the plea of lack of jurisdiction of the Ombudsman to investigate complaints lodged with his Office by officers of the Armed Forces of Malta.
The Court decided:
It has rejected all the pleas of defendant bar the twelfth plea which it accepts.
It upholds all the demands of plaintiff except the fourth one and decides as follows:
- Declares that the Ombudsman has the jurisdiction to investigate complaints of officers and men of the Armed Forces of Malta only in respect of appointments, promotions, salaries and pension rights;
- Declares that it is the Ombudsman himself who decides whether he has jurisdiction, even in those cases where the complainant had adequate means of redress under other laws;
- Declares that once the Ombudsman states that, given the particular circumstances of the complaint, it would not be reasonable for the complainant to have recourse to the President of Malta as a means of redress, the Ombudsman may continue with the investigation into the complaints of the officers;
- Orders the plaintiffs to provide all the information that the Ombudsman requested or might request regarding the complaints in question to appear before him if so summoned.
Both the fourth demand raised in the Ombudsman’s application and the twelfth plea brought by the Ministry in its reply, referred to the Ombudsman’s submission, that the fact that the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security had not acted in accordance with the summons issued by the Ombudsman constituted a contempt of the Ombudsman’s authority.Media Releases