Enemalta says installer pocketed €44,000 for tampered meters

The proceeds of crime from 88 tampered meters installed by former Enemalta employee Richard Gauci totalled €44,000, according to Enemalta Corporation, however there is no evidence that the amount had not been shared with other people.

A former Enemalta employee pocketed €44,000 in criminal proceeds over 88 tampered meters he installed, Enemalta’s Review Protection Section told the court today.

Taking the witness stand in the compilation of evidence against Gauci, one of the Enemalta employees charged on the tampered meters revealed back in 2013, Enemalta representative Alan Chetcuti said his unit had found that Gauci had installed 88 meters which under-read consumption. “Every meter was installed against payment of €500, resulting in €44,000 of crime proceeds,” the witness said.

Richard Gauci, 47, of Rabat is accused with bribery, tampering of smart meters, and damaging Enemalta property. He has previously admitted to the charges but is still undergoing proceedings, which will then lead to submissions on sentencing.

Defence counsel Domenic Micallef questioned the Corporation if it had evidence that Gauci kept all the money for himself. The witness replied that there was no proof that the €500 from each meter had not been shared with others.

Moreover, the defence informed the court that discussions were underway with the CEO of Enemalta to reach an agreement over an amount to be paid back by the accused.

At the end of the sitting, relatives of the accused complained that Gauci was not receiving proper medical care at the Forensic Unit. “He has been recently hospitalized. Prior to being detained at the Forensic Unit, he received therapy twice weekly, but this has been reduced to once monthly. Consequently his legs are swollen and he cannot walk,” Gauci’s sister told the court.

Magistrate Carol Peralta issued a communication to the medical staff at the Forensic Unit requesting a written guarantee that Gauci will be given the proper treatment at least twice weekly. “The court need the reassurance, in writing that this communication has been noted and the accused is receiving the medical therapy he needs,” the Magistrate said.

Witness fails to identify accused

Moments later, the court continued the compilation of evidence against Anthony Pace. The 43-year old of Mosta was the seventh employee to be taken to court and accused of defrauding the corporation and accepting bribes to install tampered smart meters.

Enemalta representative Joseph Mangion, exhibited the employment record of the accused, while a representative of the Attorney General exhibited certificated guarantees that that no proceeding will be instituted against witnesses Anton Ciantar, Saviour Sammut and Emmnauel Zammit.

Anton Cassar could not give evidence today as he is abroad with relatives who are travelling for medical treatment.

Witness Emanuel Zammit said he was on his boat at St Paul’s Bay when he was engaged in conversation with a person he did not know. The talk was about utility bills, and the man told him he could sort him with a meter which under-read energy being consumed.

Asked to identify the man in court, Zammit could not point out anyone. Prosecuting Inspector Daniel Zammit brought to the court’s attention that the witness was under oath. “I remember he was a blonde-haired, tall, big boy called Anthony.” Pointing at the accused, Magistrate Peralta asked the witness, “is that him?” but Zammit said no.

Inspector Daniel Zammit told the court that action should be taken against the witness because there was evidence that he and the accused had been in communication. “I reserve the right to prosecute against him, but first I need to consult with the Attorney General,” he said.

“We met two or three times. He would wait for me to return by boat. We never exchanged mobile phones. It’s been two years. He asked me €2,200 for it and I told him that I needed to confirm that it really under read. Then I called him and agreed about the payment.”

An irate Peralta turned to the witness: “So you had his mobile number. You are being inconsistent. Do you know the consequences of perjury?”

Emanuel Zammit explained that the person he had identified from police photos was the man who installed his meter, however it was not the man in the dock. “I have no problem in finding the actual culprit and turning him in to the police,” the witness said.

Appearing for the witness, lawyer Robert Abela confirmed that the police had shown his client a number of photos. “He chose numbers two and nine, but was more inclined towards number two. The photos were black and white. He only made a decision after the police told him he had to pick one – he chose the odd one out,” the lawyer said.

Witness testifies that his €1,200 meter read 60% less

Next on the witness stand was Saviour Sammut who also agreed to testify in court, against a guarantee that no action would be taken against him. Identifying Pace as the man who installed his meter, he said he had met the accused in a shop in Attard.

“Two years ago Pace told me that I could install a meter which under-reads consumption. He said he would contact me again at the appropriate time. When he installed it, I was not home, but my wife was. I later met him at Mosta and paid him €1,200.”

Eventually Enemalta confirmed that the meter under-read by 60%.

At the end of the sitting, Inspector Daniel Zammit told the court that a tampered meter had been found at the house of the accused. The prosecution said theft must be added to the charges levelled against Anthony Pace. Magistrate Peralta ordered the prosecution to prepare a new charge sheet in time for the next sitting.

Inspectors Daniel and Roderick Zammit are prosecuting. Lawyer Domenic Micallef is representing Richard Gauci while Dr Arthur Azzopardi is representing Anthony Pace.

The case continues.

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