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“Battle” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Audit for the marina of Ayia Napa

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A fight broke out between the Ministry of Interior and the Audit Office on the occasion of leasing state land for the Ayia Napa Marina. Initially, the Audit Office issued a report yesterday concerning the Ministry of Tourism, making extensive reference to the marinas.

Regarding the Ayia Napa Marina, the Audit Office noted that “the director of the company is a first-degree relative of a person who belongs to the family environment of the President of the Republic”.

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The Ministry of Interior in its reply letter today categorically assured that the procedures followed were in accordance with the existing Legislation.

Specifically, it states that “according to the current Legislation, the allocation of state land is governed by Article 18 of Chapter 224, (Law on Registration and Valuation of Real Estate) and Regulation 8 (1) and (2) which clearly provide for the allocation of state land. land for tourism purposes, giving the Council of Ministers the power to decide on it “.

The Council of Ministers decided in accordance with the suggestions of all competent services, including the Legal Service, which approved the content of the lease agreement, he adds.

In this case, he continues, the applicant Company, which is also the manager of the Marina of Ayia Napa, requested the lease of the plot with no. 483 area 3,093 sqm which enters like a wedge in the project area, with the aim of utilizing it to create an urban and architecturally complete and uniform development in the area with uninterrupted and uninterrupted access to the beach, provisions provided in the relevant Regulations.

“The item in question could not be included in the initial lease / licensing process of the Marina development as it was committed to another lease which was terminated later. The Auditor General's report that” it is an unacceptable practice for an individual to locate state land and without complying with any competitive procedure to submit to the Council of Ministers and ensure its lease “conflicts with the clear provisions of Regulation 8 paragraphs (1) and (2) which give the relevant power to the Council of Ministers” adds the Ministry.

Therefore, he states, “instead of the Auditor General interpreting the provisions of the relevant Regulations as appropriate and leaving hints for possible involvement of the President of the Republic in the whole process, it would be ethically more correct to submit his disagreement on what the Regulations are taken and suggested to be amended “.

In response to the Ministry of Interior, the Audit Office issued a statement stating:

In response to today's announcement of the Ministry of Interior, which until now refused to respond to our letters on the subject, we point out the following: For the project of Ayia Napa Marina there is a competent Management Committee (PMC). It is questionable how decisions can be made without even informing the DEM. Article 30 of the Law on Accounting and Financial Management and Financial Control of the Republic (Law 38 (I) / 2014) requires that, even in simple land leases for which public procurement legislation does not apply, the principles of transparency are observed. , proportionality, equal treatment and non-discrimination. This is in line with the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

In this case, the lease also constitutes an amendment to an existing public contract, for which the relevant legislation regarding such amendments should be observed. Competent bodies for the approval of such amendment are the TEN and the Central Committee for Changes and Requirements. The main thing is that the manipulation that took place harmed the public interest. The lease of state land through a competitive process, in addition to ensuring equal treatment of all economic operators, ensures the lease at the best possible price. We remain in the position that the Decision of the Council of Ministers constitutes favorable treatment of the specific company, in violation of the relevant legislation, and to the detriment of the public interest.

The Audit Office did not leave any implication in its report, it only recorded facts. The lease was decided by the Council of Ministers, and one of the Directors of the company is a person from the family environment of the President of the Republic. Also, between the years 2018 and 2020, eight persons who are directors of a parent holding company received exceptional Cypriot citizenship by Decision of the Council of Ministers, in violation of the applicable criteria, provided by the law firm in which the subsidiaries have an interest. of the President of the Republic. Should we keep these facts to ourselves? Our Service will continue with the examination of the naturalization process of the eight persons in order to investigate other aspects of the process. Given the refusal of the Government to provide the relevant files, we will start with the five persons who were naturalized on 21.8.2020, ie after the entry into force of the relevant Regulations KDP 379/2020, and outside the terms of the terms of reference of the Research Committee. In case there are any other findings, in addition to those already included in yesterday's report, we will issue a special report.

Source: www.philenews.com

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