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Paphos sewerage scandal officials found guilty

Five officials – including former Paphos mayor and MP Fidias Sarikas – who faced a number of criminal charges in the Paphos Sewerage Board (SAPA) corruption scandal were found guilty by the Paphos Criminal Court on Friday.

Apart from Sarikas, the other defendants to be found guilty 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.

Sentencing will be carried out on May 3 with the three-judge panel ordering all five me to remain in police custody. The marathon trial had gotten underway back in 2015.

Witnesses say relatives of some of the defendants broke into tears as the verdicts were being read out.

Savvas Vergas and suspended SAPA director Eftychios Malekkides, who are already serving time in prison.

State prosecutors had 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 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 had 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.

Sarikas was found guilty of six charges but acquitted of two, Michaelides was found guilty of 20 charges and acquitted of five, Vasiliou was found guilty of seven charges and acquitted of one, Efstathiou was found guilty of 14 charges and acquitted of one while Shailis was found guilty of six charges and acquitted of three.

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