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MPs lock horns over party subsidies

Tempers flared during Thursday’s House Watchdog Committee after Disy MP Giorgos Georgiou raised questions over funds being distributed for ‘non-existent’ chauffeurs for the Cyprus Green Party.

Green Party Deputy Giorgos Perdikis has refused to accept state appointed guards along with a driver and, as such, the party receives a monthly subsidy as a compensatory measure since 2005.

During the meeting, a motion was tabled to examine the budget concerning the guards and drivers for political leaders in Cyprus.

According to committee deputy chairwoman Irene Charalambidou the altercation between Giorgiou and Perdikis had occurred when the former had followed up the suggestion with the one to examine the Greens’ subsidy.

In a statement released later on Thursday, the Greens denied that Perdikes was pocketing the subsidy and that it was being used to pay the salary of a party member.

“The driver’s subsidy is being deposited directly into the party’s account and is being used to pay the wages of a party member,” states the party.

Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides has reportedly approved and cleared the accounting status of the amount with regards to the employee and a relevant contract was signed between the employee and the party to that effect.

“One of the duties described in the contract is that of driver,” said the party

The original subsidy was €1,500 per month but was reduced to €1,020 in 2013 following the economic crisis.

Earlier this week, Perdikis and Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos were involved a public spat over the minister’s alleged business activities including his ownership of Alithia newspaper and how the media company constitutes a conflict of interest with his ministerial duties.. Hasikos has also fallen out with Michaelides over properties his family owns and has rented to state departments.

In fact, it was Alithia that first broke the story of Perdikis’ driver subsidy.

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