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Crunch time for sewerage scandal defendants

The Paphos Criminal Court is set to deliver its verdict in the Paphos Sewerage Board (SAPA) corruption scandal on Friday.

The marathon trial – which sees five officials – including former Paphos mayor and MP Fidias Sarikas – facing the possibility of prison time.

Apart from Sarikas, the other defendants in the trial are former ruling right-wing party Disy municipal councillor Giorgos Michaelides, former Democratic party Diko councillor Efstathios Efstathiou, former left-wing party Akel councillor Vasos Vasiliou, and sitting Akel councillor Giorgos Shailis.

State prosecutors have accused Sarikas of receiving bribes to arrange for Awatech, a German company bidding for SAPA contracts, to secure the job of constructing and operating the Paphos biological station.

Police also say that Shailis had conspired with former mayor Savvas Vergas – who is currently serving time in prison in connection with a previous SAPA swindle in the town that defrauded the public purse out of millions of euros – sometime between December 2012 and January 2013 to arrange more bribes.

Vergas had also been a defendant but turned state witness in the trial.

Malekides is also in prison for his role in the previous scandal at SAPA confessing along with Vergas to having abused their power and taken bribes from contractors vying for SAPA contracts.

The defendants are said to have been behind a consortium called ‘Medcon Constructions Ltd’ and that it had signed a €16.6million contract with SAPA – although that figure later swelled to €22.9m.

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