Recent transfers involving high-ranking personnel in the AFM have been described by an army officer as the “latest move aimed at appeasing government sympathisers” while ensuring unconditional loyalty in key posts.

The commander of the AFM, Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi, issued a General Order last Monday announcing the redeployment of a lieutenant colonel, seven majors and seven captains as of December 9.

The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a number of these redeployments were of a routine nature due to the imminent retirement of a high-ranking member of the army, but some of the other postings “smacked of nepotism”.

“One particular officer, who was promoted last year after publicly declaring that he had sought the help of a politician, was transferred to a new post after struggling to come to terms with his duties,” he said.

“Questions were raised on the reasons behind this new transfer in little more than a year.”

Another redeployment that raised eyebrows was that of a highly experienced major who was transferred to the helm of a “defunct” section. The section was previously headed by a captain, which is an inferior rank.

“Such a move is not becoming of the major’s rank and service and signals that he was not on good terms with the current command group,” the officer said.

He also noted that ahead of these transfers most the officers were summoned for a meeting with Brigadier Curmi, but two of them only learnt of their new posts following the publication of the General Order.

These postings have fomented further discontent, the officer said, following the complaints made about a number of accelerated promotions given last year, most notably that of Brigadier Curmi himself.

The issue escalated following the refusal of the Home Affairs Ministry to collaborate with the Ombudsman, who was asked to look into these promotions by the aggrieved officers.

The two sides have been at loggerheads for months, with the ministry arguing that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction to look into such cases. In response, the Ombudsman is threatening to take the ministry to court.

Questions sent to the Home Affairs Ministry have not been answered.

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