The government should explain why an Enemalta official charged in connection with the smart meter scandal did not face harsher charges due to his position as a public official, the Nationalist Party said yesterday.

Addressing a news conference at the party headquarters, PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami said the Energy Ministry, Justice Ministry and Home Affairs Ministry should clarify the situation to quell any suspicions of political interference.

The case involves Louis Attard, who was suspended from his job at Enemalta’s accounts department after being charged with stealing €2,329 worth of electricity from his home in Mosta. He was also accused of bribing a public official to commit a criminal act.

However, the prosecution decided not to include the charge relating to his duties as a public servant, which could mean a stiffer punishment.

The PN deputy leader said it was ironic that a person tasked with looking after the corporation’s money was accused of defrauding the corporation by stealing electricity.

“In the eyes of the law, this particular case cannot be treated like that of any other common citizen,” Dr Fenech Adami argued.

Opposition spokesman for Home Affairs Jason Azzopardi referred to Article 141 of the Criminal Code, which says that “any public officer or servant who shall be guilty of any other offence over which it was his duty to watch or which by virtue of his office he was bound to repress, shall, on conviction, be liable to the punishment laid down for such offence, increased by one degree”.

Dr Azzopardi said he was not implying Mr Attard was guilty, but if this was the case he would escape a tougher sentence because the charges made no reference to his role as a public servant.

Earlier this year, when the smart meter tampering scandal went public, Mr Attard was described in Parliament by the Opposition as the mastermind behind the electricity scam.

The PN also highlighted Mr Attard’s “very close” relationship with Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi, a claim denied by the minister.

Dr Mizzi also rejected accusations of any political interference in this case, pointing out that Mr Attard was never his canvasser and had no connection with him.

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