The Malta Independent 14 July 2020, Tuesday

Witness cannot identify accused in smart meter case; ministry issues clarification

Malta Independent Thursday, 19 June 2014, 19:18 Last update: about 7 years ago

A witness in the smart meter case could not identify the accused technician, who allegedly offered to install his tampered smart meter.

In Emmanuel Zammit’s testimony, he described the person who had offered his services to install the tampered meter which would result in a reduction in energy consumption, as a blonde-haired tall ‘big boy’. Mr Zammit said that at the time, he was not aware that the meter was tampered with. Magistrate Peralta asked whether the man in question was in the court room, Mr Zammit said “he is not”. The Magistrate directly pointed at the accused, Mr Anthony Pace, and asked “is that the man”, the response was the same.

Inspector Daniel Zammit said that nine photographs were shown to Emmanuel during the investigation, and originally he could not identify the man. Mr Emmanuel Zammit then narrowed down the selection to two possible culprits, referred to as number nine and number two on the photo sheet, the inspector said. The court heard that Emmanuel eventually indicated to police that number 9 most resembled the man in question. The nine photographs were then presented in court and the witness was asked to confirm that number 9 was the same man as the accused present in court. He confirmed. Mr Emmanuel Zammit remained adamant that Mr Azzopardi was not the same man who had approached him regarding the installation of smart meters.

Inspector Daniel Zammit reserved the right to take action against Mr Zammit on suspicion of perjury.

The court heard that Emmanuel Zammit was on his boat when the man in question approached him and offered to install a meter which would decrease his energy expenses, as the old meters were faulty. Mr Zammit did not know that the man in question worked for Enemalta. After the installation, Mr Zammit saw that the meter marked a lower rate of consumption than usual, and following a phone call from the unidentified man, a payment of €2200 was made.

Police found a tampered smart meter installed in Mr Pace’s house and the charge of theft has been added. He is also accused of defrauding Enemalta and accepting bribes to install tampered smart meters.

Another testimony was given by Saviour Sammut, who told the Court that he was approached by a man who offered to install smart meters, which would help lower his electricity consumption. Mr Sammut pointed at the accused and identified him as the man in question. He testified that €1200 was paid to Mr Zammit and that the metres had been installed for over a year.

Court orders forensic ward to increase treatment for Richard Gauci

Richard Gauci, another Enemalta technician, had earlier this year pleaded guilty to the charges. Mr Gauci had made €44,000 profit over 88 tampered smart meters, the Court heard today. The Defence argued that it is a smaller amount. Discussions are under way to decide on the actual amount owed.

Mr Gauci, who arrived in court in a wheelchair, had a request to make of the court. In his name, a family member stepped forward and explained that Mr Gauci is not receiving the proper medical treatment needed whilst in the forensic ward. As such he is unable to walk as his legs are swollen. The Court ordered that Mr Gauci receive therapy twice a week. Magistrate Peralta also demanded written confirmation that his treatment will be handled as ordered henceforth.

The case will continue next Tuesday.

Home Affairs Ministry clarifies issue on man who stands accused of smart meter tampering

The Home Affairs Ministry has said in a statement that contrary to what is being reported in the media, that a person who stands accused of tampering with smart meters said in court that he was not receiving psychiatric treatment at Mt Carmel’s forensic unit twice a week but once a month, it results that he is receiving such treatment once a week and not once a month.

This, the ministry said, was established after the minister called on the authorities at Kordin Prisons to give an explanation.

The ministry also issued the dates of when the accused attended such sessions: March 2, 18, 25; April 3, 8, 15, 22, 29; May 13, 20, 29; June 4, 11 and 14.
It results, the ministry said, that the patient also attended occupational therapy sessions on February 21; March 21; April 15; May 22; and June 5, 19.
Regular visits by medical officers at Mt Carmel Hospital were conducted on February 18, 22, 25, 27; March 8, 12, 14, 18, 22, 24, 29; April 9, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28; May 3, 4, 10, 14 (on this particular day he was transferred to Mater Dei Hospital), 17, 20, and 26.
The ministry also highlighted that after the case was heard today, the patient returned to Mt Carmel where discussions were held with him to ensure that his medical needs are safeguarded.

 

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