Ex-police inspector was prosecutor on smart meters’ bribery

Police inspector who was medically discharged from corps had led prosecutions on smart meter bribery, and then kicked upstairs to Enemalta audit division on €60,000 salary

Former police inspector Daniel Zammit
Former police inspector Daniel Zammit

A former police inspector who got transferred to a €60,000 posting at Enemalta plc, after being medically ‘boarded out’ of his original job, had been previously responsible for prosecuting people charged with the bribery of Enemalta employees to hack into their smart meters.

Daniel Zammit, the son of former acting police commissioner Ray Zammit, had his job as a consultant to Enemalta’s internal audit section terminated by request of energy minister Konrad Mizzi on Monday evening.

The inspector’s new posting, controversially awarded four days after being medically screened to be discharged from the police corps, was the subject of a PQ by shadow justice minister Jason Azzopardi.

On the other hand, an Enemalta source told MaltaToday that Zammit's posting had been welcomed inside the audit division, which has played a central role in uncovering the smart meter hacking scam, because it had already requested the skills of an interrogating officer. But the controversial manner in which Zammit was appointed to the post had now led to its termination.

Only 25 people were charged for bribing the Enemalta technicians at the heart of scam to hack smart meters and under-register energy consumption.

The government originally claimed that hundreds of clients had had their smart meters tampered, and to facilitate their regularisation had granted them in February 2014 a six-week deadline to regularise their position by paying a penalty and their unpaid energy bills, or face court action. Mizzi had claimed close to 1,000 smart meters had been tampered with.

Azzopardi asked Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela for his view on how the posting had been granted, given that it did not appear that his medical condition was so serious. The minister said he did not know the inspector involved, and that a sworn statement by the medical boards coordinator, stated that the normal boarding-out procedures were followed. Abela also said the coordinator did not know the person concerned, and that there was no favoritism towards him.

Abela conceded that it was only coincidental that the former inspector was boarded out after a few days of making his request for medical screening: his request was submitted just a few days before a meeting of the medical board which was already scheduled. The board had fewer than the 15 cases it normally considered in one sitting, and therefore the inspector’s request could be considered immediately.  

In a reaction, energy minister Konrad Mizzi said he had intervened as majority shareholder in Enemalta to tell chairman Frederick Azzopardi that the engagement of the former police inspector was “unacceptable”.

The Nationalist Party said the controversial posting was another “shady deal… kept under wraps by this government, until details of this engagement were revealed in Parliament. Mizzi’s action is merely a reaction to the public outcry against the Muscat government which failed miserably in its pledge for meritocracy.”

Under the Public Service Management Code, former public officers can be reinstated in the grade they held on resignation after having been medically board out. But they must present a medical certificate stating that they are fit to resume duties, and such statement must be confirmed by a government medical board.

The re-instatement of public officers on “grounds of public interest” can also be considered when the performance of specialised duties in key positions is required. But on re-instatement, officers will be placed in their former grade, in the same salary point they enjoyed on resignation.

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