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Jailed for state blunder

By Janice Ruffle

Where’s the justice in a state error cover-up that destroys a person’s life?

Italian national Iader Brusa arrived in Cyprus on April 26, 1996; previously he was living in Greece.

He came at the request of Aquarium owners due to his expertise as an Aquarist.

Brusa was forced to resign after three years. Not due to the love of his work, but due to the terms of his contract not being financially fulfilled.

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“I had no choice but to leave. I needed an income, and fast,” said Brusa.

Shortly after, he received two separate payments from the Aquarium for €208 and €320.

He decided to stay in Cyprus and, with the help of friends opened a pet shop, which he ran successfully for eight years until he was hit with ill-health.

Brusa had made all necessary social insurance contributions (plus government business taxes) and rightfully applied for state financial aid.

After a lengthy period, he received the total sum of €2,600.

Jailed

Unexpectedly, after two years of receiving the amount, he was asked to pay it back in full. He was informed the funds were a state ‘clerical error’ and should not have been issued.

Unable to return the money resulted in him being arrested by the police and jailed for 48 hrs.

Brusa was trapped by bureaucracy, deemed a criminal for the inexcusable actions of the Cypriot authorities.

“I was robbed of my dignity. I felt destitute and humiliated,” he stressed.

And why is the government official responsible for issuing the payment not fired or behind bars? Someone knows a possible answer?

Brusa continues to make endeavours to access state financial aid. Aged 66 and with poor health he cannot work. Not only that, his records may show he has served time in a state prison – a prime candidate for any future employer!

The Nicosia immigration department is handling his case. He has received no further funds and his calls are rarely returned. And no written formal apology has been given – no surprise there! Of course, an apology would be an admission of error on the state’s part.

New legislation

It’s encouraging to note that a new law (37(1)/2017) has come into force, implementing “Directive 2014/54/EU”.

It covers crucial aspects of employment rights and concerns matters related to accessing social and tax benefits, training, housing, education, membership of trade unions and eligibility for workers’ representative bodies and assistance from employment offices.

The whole experience and imprisonment for Brusa has incurred justifiable psychological effects. In fact, he now lives a reclusive lifestyle.

He exists with little hope, frayed motivation and financial deprivation, but feels blessed with a few real friends.

“I am grateful for the kindness and generosity of these friends,” says Brusa.

His spirit is raised by the fond memories of working with aquarium and sea-creatures of all kinds. He passionately shares many of his stories with friends, including the ones when he was a snake-tamer!

With the help of friends, he survives a frugal life with rent free accommodation, food, and above-all, people to talk to, even if it is just to pass the many hours spent in his home, due to his circumstances.

A special Casino Royal event on behalf of Brusa will take place at Secret Valley Golf Resort, Kouklia, Paphos on September 16.

He will personally be attending and proceeds will be donated to his cause.

Interested parties can contact: 95 540100 or 26 931222.

 

 

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