Story By: Jana Tomovska, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Video Credit: CEN/Guardia di finanza imperia
A council official who was filmed as he clocked off from work in his underpants in a sting operation against absenteeism has been acquitted of fraud.
Alberto Moraglia who was a council fruit and veg inspector for the local markets was just one of several people caught allegedly abusing the system by clocking in and out of work when they were actually not available for work.
Lawyers for the Guardia di Finanza claim he had actually been at his flat which was in the same building as his office when he was clocked as working, and used the video of him walking to clock out in his underpants as evidence of the allegation.
The hearing heard that his responsibility was to carry out checks at the local fruit and vegetable market and that he could not have been doing this if he was walking up the stairwell from his flat to his office in his underpants.
However he told the court that he had returned home to his flat and only realised after starting to undress that he had forgotten to clock off, and had quickly gone to the machine in order to complete the task.
He said the fact that he was filmed in the sting operation by the Guardia di Finanza investigating absentee workers did not prove that he was trying to claim for work that he was not doing.
He added that he was able to justify the irregularities in the footage on all of the occasions when he was accused of not being at work, and said the underpants episode had been because he couldn’t be bothered to get dressed again just to stamp out.
Alongside him nine other council employees also acquitted of fraud during the probe in the Municipality of Sanremo.
The footage was actually shot in 2015, and Moraglia whose age was not given was fired in 2016. Since losing his job he has set up a shop preparing household appliances in the city centre. But he also appealed against his dismissal.
More than a dozen others have admitted their guilt in clocking in for work are not present.
Grazia Pradella, assistant prosecutor of Sanremo, said: “The fact that there have been 16 plea deals and as many indictments as justification for the investigation. With regards to the latest decision will carefully look at the decision before deciding what further action to take.”
After the decision was revealed Moraglia described it as: “A relief but not a surprise. I had four and a half years of media torture accusing me of faults I never committed. I was forced to change my life, reinvent myself and find a new job, and my family also suffered from the derision, disrespect and difficulties I faced. Nobody can give me these years back, but now I just want to turn the page and move on.
“Clocking on in my underpants was certainly not professional, but it was not a sign of fraud. I’m grateful that finally the truth has been recognised.”
The others acquitted were Roberto Peluffo, Luigi Angeloni, Sergio Morabito, Maurizio Di Fazio, Loretta Marchi, Luisa Mele, Alberto Moraglia, Patrizia Lanzoni, Rosella Fazio and Paolo Righetto.
The Guardia di Finanza is a police force that operates under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance.
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