Man mis­ap­pro­pri­ated €8,000 worth of ice-cream prod­ucts to pay off loan shark

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Neil Camil­leri

A man who stands charged with mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing more than €8,000 from his em­ploy­ers had told in­ves­ti­ga­tors he needed the money be­cause he had bor­rowed money from a loan shark, a court heard yes­ter­day.

Po­lice In­spec­tor Sarah Ma­gri was tes­ti­fy­ing in the com­pi­la­tion of ev­i­dence against for­mer de­liv­ery driver Fer­nando Sam­mut, 36, who al­legedly strayed from his des­ig­nated route and made un­de­clared and unau­tho­rised sales of ice-cream prod­ucts.

Mr Sam­mut had al­ready been handed a sus­pended sen­tence by re­tired Mag­is­trate Carol Per­alta in 2014 but an ap­peals court had found that the sen­tence was pre­ma­ture as the com­pi­la­tion of ev­i­dence had not yet been con­cluded. The case con­tin­ued and has since been trans­ferred to Mag­is­trate Donatella Frendo Dimech.

She heard this morn­ing that Mr Sam­mut was pre­vi­ously em­ployed by Fran­cis Busut­til and Sons Ltd – a food and bev­er­age im­port com­pany. Fi­nan­cial Con­troller Joseph Hili said the com­pany had noted dis­crep­an­cies in the stock in Mr Sam­mut’s van. On one oc­ca­sion there was a dis­crep­ancy of around €7,500 be­tween what was marked as sold and what re­mained from the orig­i­nal stock. On an­other oc­ca­sion around €650 worth of prod­uct went miss­ing.

The com­pany’s vans were all equipped with track­ers and it was noted that Mr Sam­mut of­ten vis­ited lo­ca­tions that were not on his des­ig­nated route.

Mr Hili said Mr Sam­mut had started pay­ing the com­pany back and had paid around €450 so far.

In­spec­tor Ma­gri said the case came to her at­ten­tion in Au­gust 2013. Mr Sam­mut was tasked with de­liv­er­ing in the Mel­lieha area but his su­pe­ri­ors noted that he was vis­it­ing other shops that were not in his des­ig­nated route. These in­cluded a visit to a shop in Zeb­bug, where he de­liv­ered goods but did not pro­duce an in­voice. On an­other oc­ca­sion he was seen de­liv­er­ing sev­eral boxes but the in­voice he pro­duces listed a much smaller amount.

In­ter­viewed in 2013 Mr Sam­mut had de­nied any wrong­do­ing and claimed that he some­times left the van un­locked and that the items might have been stolen from in­side the ve­hi­cle. When the po­lice spoke to him again in 2014 he ad­mit­ted that he had a usury prob­lem and was sell­ing ice cream to make money to pay the debt, the in­spec­tor said.

Lawyer David Camil­leri is ap­pear­ing for Mr Sam­mut.

The case con­tin­ues.

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