Former Enemalta engineer gets suspended sentence for tampering with meters

Enemalta engineer who helped businesses bypass their electricity meters gets nine months’ jail suspended for 14 months

Former Enemalta engineer, Lewis Sant, was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment suspended for 14 months after he was found guilty of aiding businesses in the south of Malta to bypass their electric meters.

Sant was also charged with corruption as a government employee but the court dismissed this based on the fact that Enemalta, in 2014 when the accused perpetrated the crime, became Engineering Resources Ltd. The Act that transferred the obligations of Enemalta onto the new corporation in 2014 did not make reference to employees as government representatives.

The court heard several testimonies of former Enemalta employees who explained how upon inspections in 2015, a restaurant in Marsascala owned by a certain Najeh Khalifa was getting its electricity not through a meter but directly from the grid.

Khalifa admitted that the bypass was installed by Sant, when the latter offered to do it for him for the price of €1,200. 

“He came in as a client in my Marsascala restaurant and offered to install some wiring for a cheaper electricity bill. He offered me a price and I said, no, I expected a discount because I had two establishments… he bypassed both meters in two establishments in Marsascala for the price of €900,” he said, adding that two other people accompanied the accused and that he remembered them clearly.

Police and Enemalta engineers said that inspections found that other establishments in Birzebbugia, Zabbar and Qormi had been enjoying the same treatment—cables were going through a distribution box in the suspended ceiling and bypassing the meter. These, however, could not be linked to the accused.

With regards to the two Khalifa-owned establishments in Marsascala, the trunking and the cable’s material had Enemalta moulded on its insulation, witnesses said.

Khalifa identified Sant in court and said that he was the one leading two other Enemalta employees to do the work.

Sant was also accused of threatening Khalifa, telling him that he’d get him into trouble if he revealed him in any way. The court decided, however, that this was insufficient and could not be deemed a threat. 

The accused was found guilty of embezzlement and of voluntary damage to electric cables and sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for 14 months.

Donatella Frendo Dimech was presiding magistrate. Inspector Matthew Vella prosecuted.

Richard Sladden was defence counsel. 

Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia appeared for the parte civile, Enemalta.

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