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Auditor General irked by ministry circular

A controversial circular sent by the Finance Ministry to the Audit Office of the Republic informing them that the state audit process will be altered has angered Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides.

In the circular, Permanent Secretary Christos Patsalides effectively outlines new guidelines which we would see auditors themselves audited when examining ministry papers.

On Friday, Michaelides sent the letter to Attorney General Costas Clerides in which he reminded the Legal Services that the constitution shields the Audit Service’s independence.

The circular was sent the day after state auditors “stormed” into the offices of the Finance Ministry to seize documents and files concerning the Cooperative Central Bank (CCB).

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The circular further states that the state auditors have the right to look into the ministry’s files but a different procedure should be followed before these are handed out.

Meanwhile, Irene Charalambides, who is deputy head of the House Watchdog Committee, has accused the ministry of attemping to conceal documents and sensitive information regarding the Co-op.

Last month, Michaelides called on Finance Minister Harris Georgiades to explain why the state had yet to reverse a decision to return 25% of the CCB’s shares to members even after the Attorney General cast doubt on the legality of the process.

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