Pressure is mounting for action to be taken within the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM), after an Ombudsman investigation found that the Commander was promoted illegally soon after the 2013 general election.
The process “was tainted with undue external influence that seriously prejudiced the essential requisites of transparency and observance of the rules of due process required to dispel any perception of improper discrimination. Worse, it was outright illegal. The minister did not bother to observe the niceties of a selection process but jumped ahead to the promotion of the favoured few”, the Ombudsman found.
Brigadier Curmi was among four AFM officers who were promoted on the order of then Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia. The promotions took place without then Commander Martin Xuereb even being informed.
The Ombudsman concluded that the process was “irregular, illegal, improper and discriminatory”, according to Times of Malta, to whom the report was leaked after it was originally concluded last June but subsequently ignored.
It was the result of a “tailor-made process to achieve a pre-ordained result”, the newspaper quoted, adding that this injustice and maladministration “ill-behoves the army and the country”, the Ombudsman concluded.
The Ombudsman’s ruling was given on the basis of a complaint filed by four lieutenant colonels, Karl Sammut, Albert Brincat, Ian Ruggier and Mario Borg. They have all since left the AFM after they were missed out on promotions given to others who were behind them on the scale, without a proper selection process. The Ombudsman awarded each of them €15,000 in moral damages for this “gross injustice”.
Besides Curmi, the other illegally-promoted officers were Mark Mallia, Mark Said and Pierre Vassallo. They were all promoted to the rank of colonel just two weeks after being promoted to lieutenant colonel.
Curmi (left in cover photo) went from being a major in September 2013 to Commander in December 2013 after getting four promotions in four months, while Mallia (right in cover photo) made it to deputy commander in the same way.
Lovin Malta has sent questions to the Prime Minister and the AFM Commander for their reaction to the Ombudsman’s report.
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