Commissioner took on 41 cases from MEPA auditor
After having been appointed as Commissioner for Environment and Planning last August Architect David Pace took over the duties that were previously performed by the Audit Officer of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority. The difference between the two is that while the auditor was employed by MEPA, the Commissioner is appointed by Parliament, Ombudsman Joseph Said Pullicino said this morning.
Ombudsman Joseph Said Pullicino said that this was not achieved through a pyramidal structure but done with the scope of there being consultation between the auditor and the commissioner so that the latter would be able to take up where the other left off.
He added that with this transition more emphasis is being made on environment than planning.
Speaking to the press, Architect Pace said that when he was appointed in his role other than taking on the case load of the auditor, he also took on the new cases that came in after August.
Of the 41 active cases that were put forward before the transition took place, 18 are awaiting an answer from the office of the MEPA Chairman, another 18 are in the enforcement stage and 5 cases are pending for other reasons. 5 others, on the other hand, have been solved.
Of the 25 cases that were opened from August onwards, 8 have been closed as they have not met the necessary criteria and 17 are still pending.
Architect Pace also claimed that the channels of communication between him and MEPA are open as they meet regularly to discuss matters.
He lastly maintained that he has the possibility to open cases of environmental relevance himself with the omission of investigation.
MEPA CEO Dr Ian Stafrace commented on the smoothness of the transition between the two roles which is coming to a successful end. He said that MEPA has taken a proactive approach to investigations, allowing the Commissioner to give an unbiased view on cases.
He thanked Architect Joseph Falzon, who used to fill the auditor position for his service, and augured Architect Pace for his ongoing work.
Lastly, MEPA Chairman Austin Walker said that this process was part of the reform at MEPA carried out “to strengthen the Auditor’s Office”.