In terms of Article 22(4) of the Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman, Mr. Anthony C. Mifsud, and the Commissioner for Environment and Planning, Perit Alan Saliba, have sent to the House of Representatives the Final Opinion concerning a complaint alleging no action with regards to tables and chairs on public land in Senglea.
On 1 June 2022, this Office received a complaint alleging no action by the Lands Authority against the illegal occupation of public land through the placing of tables and chairs in Senglea. The Complainant submitted a photo showing the alleged illegal occupation in question consisting of four sets of tables and chairs, including umbrellas, located on the promenade.
The Commissioner for Environment and Planning initiated an investigation involving the Lands Authority, the Planning Authority, and the Malta Tourism Authority. No reply was forthcoming from any of the governmental entities involved.
The Commissioner observed that this is a clear case of lack of cooperation by the authorities, particularly the Lands Authority, with the Ombudsman institution that is performing its constitutional role in overseeing the administrative functions of public entities. The Commissioner commented that this country could not move forward if a Constitutional institution such as the Ombudsman, is ignored.
The Commissioner recommended that the Lands Authority shall provide and publish all the encroachments on public land, properly listed under location and street name – preferably also through a system similar to the Planning Authority’s Mapserver – starting with those in Senglea. Also, the Lands Authority must take immediate action against any illegal encroachments and fine the contravenor in line with Article 62 of the Lands Authority Act.
The Lands Authority did not even react to the Commissioner’s recommendations, let alone implement his recommendations. The Case was referred to the Prime Minister in October 2022, and since no action has been taken, the Commissioner sent the report to the attention of the House of Representatives.