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Friday, June 25, 2021

CYPRA case / Auditor General: The former DG of the Ministry of Agriculture acted as Pontius Pilate

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New fire against the Director of Veterinary Services Christodoulou Pipi regarding the contract with the company SYKAN, as well as criticisms against the former General Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Olympia Stylianou, were fired by the Auditor General of the Republic, Odysseus Michael F. before the Commission of Inquiry into the CYPRA slaughterhouse. At the same time, Mr. Michaelides raised the issue of the settlement agreed between the state and the company Cypra for the repayment of veterinary fees without interest, saying that one can not borrow money from the state without interest, adding that these objections refute the on favorable treatment of the company by the Audit Office.

“It's the factual responsibility of the Veterinary Services for the fact that a contract that had an initial duration of five years will hopefully close for twenty years without even seeming a prospect of being terminated. For this scandalous, high-priced 15-year extension of the contract, the contracting authority bears the sole responsibility by law. “This is the message I wanted to give to the Research Committee because I believe it is important for them to understand this aspect as well, so that they have a complete picture of the events,” he said in statements after the session.

Testifying before the Commission, Mr. Michailidis said that his “bad” behavior is a nail in the coffin compared to the “bad or suspicious way” in which he handled the SYKAN contract “.

When asked about Mr. Pipis 'motives, Mr. Michailidis also mentioned Mr. Pipis' behaviors on other issues such as the yards of Hanoutari in Paphos and his cousin's second unit.

“What I mean is that when we meet someone who is in a responsible position and in a large number of cases that he handles, he shows that he is not handling them in the right way, but in a way that the least one can say is suspicious. “This person for us as Auditors is at high risk for corruption,” he said, adding, however, that only one court could say conclusively, “I decide someone is guilty.”

Answering a question if there is evidence for what he mentions about the suspicious role of Mr. Pipis, Mr. Michailidis answered that there is no evidence or information. “We have evidence that shows manipulation that not only does not serve the public interest but instead harms the public interest and serves private interests,” he added.

Commenting that Ms. Stylianou also assigned responsibilities to the Audit Office, Mr. Michailidis said that Ms. Stylianou “acted as Pontius Pilate instead of acting decisively.”

“You do not assign political responsibilities, you inform the Minister to conduct a disciplinary investigation against Mr. Pipis in order to suffer consequences for these responsibilities he bears. Did Mrs. Stylianou take disciplinary action? The only thing she did was to say that the Veterinary Services are also to blame and the Audit Office is to blame, God is to blame, everyone is to blame. “Did disciplinary action start?” He said.

The Ministry also illegally extended the SYKAN contract

Commenting that the extension of the contract was done with the approval of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Michailidis insisted that it was illegal, adding that the Council of Ministers has no authority to approve extensions of contracts.

“The Council of Ministers acted in excess of power. The Council of Ministers has no authority to deal with public procurement. “This power has been removed from the Council of Ministers since 1997 because it is unacceptable for politicians to be involved in public procurement,” he said, adding that there was an exception to the minister's approval for direct assignment in emergencies not due to contracting authority.

Saying that the decision of the Minister was illegal, the Auditor General clarified that he can not attribute bad faith to the Minister, since you had to solve a problem. “What I am complaining about is bad faith, Mr. Pipis, he has the tools to prepare and announce a competition,” he said.

In addition, in relation to the debts of the company Cypra in veterinary fees, Mr. Michailidis noted that the settlement, whether it brought interest or not, should be submitted for approval by the State Aid Commissioner or if it was judged by the European Commission and noted that the decision was incompatible with the State aid framework.

“The important issue raised by our Office, which was directed against Cypra, and therefore refutes the allegation of favorable treatment by the Office, is that this arrangement, in addition to taking a long time, did not provide for the payment of interest rate. Interest-free money cannot be borrowed from the state. This was the main issue that we had raised “, said Mr. Michailidis in his statements.

Finally, Mr. Michailidis again supported the former director of Technical Control in the Audit Service Andreas Hasapopoulos for his efficiency, acknowledging that “we do not all have the same temperament, there were times when he was more intense than I would be”. He described what is being said about his behavior as an “attempt to disorient the Veterinary Services”.

Answers to the obstruction of K. Michailidis will be given in the exhibition

Moreover, at the beginning of the meeting, the Chairman of the Committee referred to Mr. Michailidis' objections about the incompatibility of the President of Cyprus Michailidis due to the fact that he was Chief of Police, saying that they have studied the issue and recorded the objections of the Auditor General and will respond within of their report

“You have been summoned as a witness for the presentation of facts, but there will be a complete recording and development of the issue in a separate section of the report,” said Mr. Pogiatzis addressing Mr. Michaelides.

The Committee will meet again on Thursday, June 17 in order for the owner of the Cypra company, George Georgiou, to testify.

Source: KYPE

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