Former Enemalta head of accounts used tampered smart meter

The magistrate said it was hard to believe that the company’s head accountant had not realized his bills were less than half what they should have been

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

Enemalta’s former head of accounts slashed his own electricity consumption by more than half by using a tampered smart meter at his house. 

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech handed Louis Attard a 14-month prison sentence suspended for 28 months and €140 fine after finding him guilty of meter tampering.

Attard had arranged with his wife's cousin, Enemalta employee Anthony Mifsud, to send technician Paul Pantalleresco to install a tampered meter at his Mosta home, observed the court. 

The tampered meter was installed in February 2011 and removed in 2014, at around the same time that Pantalleresco was jailed for two years for accepting bribes and installing more than 250 tampered smart meters. 

Local Enemalta technicians, Italian experts and an engineering professor had all independently confirmed that Attard's meter had been intentionally slowed by smearing a conductive paste onto internal components of the device, which caused it to register consumption at roughly 53 per cent lower than it should have. 

Attard claimed to not have known about the tampered meter, while Mifsud denied ever asking Pantalleresco to change the meter.

This did not convince magistrate Donatello Frendo Dimech, however, who noted that Pantalleresco had testified to being told to “sort something out” with Louis Attard’s damaged meter, which was due to be replaced, by Mifsud.

Attard had failed to prove that his meter had been damaged and given no explanation as to why a top Enemalta official needed to go through Mifsud to arrange for it to be changed. 

"It is hard for the court to believe that the accused, Enemalta's head of accounts, did not realise that his bills were less than half what they should have been," the magistrate said. 

Attard had intentionally failed to safeguard Enemalta's financial interests, despite it being his role in the company, the court said as it handed down the suspended sentence and fine.

More in National