By Andreas Izamis
Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) and the Land Redistribution Department have been taken to task by Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides in two separate reports detailing corruption and possible business ethics violations.
Two high-ranking CyTA officials, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and acting CEO Michalis Achilleos and chief internal auditor Antigone Modestou, could face investigations by the Legal Services, following revelations of business ethics violations by Michaelides in his 2016 CyTA report.
With regards to Achilleos, Michaelides’ report points to “a possible conflict of interest, abuse of authority and business ethics abuse” mainly due to his alleged connection to Greek company ‘Synapsecom’.
CyTA sister company ‘CyTA Global Hellas’ had reportedly purchased shares from ‘Synapsecom’ and had invested in the company, which later turned out to have suffered financial losses.
Achilleos, who had been previously head of Cyta Hellas, had told Phileleftheros that the previous CyTA board had found no wrongdoing or conflict of interest over the position he had held in Greece.
With regards to Modestou, the auditor general also claimed that there was the possibility that “a conflict of interest and a violation of business ethics” had occurred due to her connection with a project involving KPMG – where Modestou’s daughter works.
Modestou has denied any wrongdoing.
Yesterday the House Watchdog Committee heard from Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides and Auditor General Michaelides of the inefficiency and corruption dogging the Land Redistribution Department revealed in the 2015 State Audit.
“The Land Redistribution Department is still working on 20-year-old cases and will require another 20 years to complete,” said Petrides.
Petrides revealed that the Land Redistribution Department would be assimilated by the Land Registry Department, while temporary planning incentives introduced following the economic crisis would take on a permanent characteristic as their implementation had been wholly beneficial.
For his part, Michaelides said that the Department was riddled with scandals.
“There are situations where state land – up to 50% in some of the redistribution plans – belonged to private individuals who benefitted economically,” said Michaelides, adding that many cases are now under criminal investigation by the Legal Services.
Petrides said that a bill was being prepared for the recruitment of certified translators, who will be held legally responsible for their translations of certificates and public records to counter the practice of private translations being certified by the state without being scrutinised for accuracy.
Michaelides also called for reform in local councils with regards to land redistribution, citing many illegalities observed in communities.
“It’s difficult for the local authorities to be aware of all the laws and regulation and many times they don’t realise that they are managing public finances,” said Michaelides