Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis attributes responsibilities to parties, the Parliament, the media and social media for the “scandal” that has been prevailing in Cyprus lately.
In his sermon he referred to Goebbels-type propaganda methods and to the orchestrated attempt of some through distortion of facts and whispering, to create the perception that he was involved in acts of corruption.
He even refers to the recent events in the US that led the mob to the Capitol, after an orgy of misinformation by Donald Trump.
Specifically, President Anastasiadis pointed out that “tens of millions of American citizens, led by a portion of the media and with targeted and repetitive messages on social media, despite the lack of documentation, adopted as true Trump's allegation that Capitol”. He noted that “similar phenomena are unfortunately recorded in our country.”
He admitted gaps and weaknesses in the “golden passports” program, noting that “all political leadership had adopted since 2007 and which until its abolition had not been challenged.”
He asserted that his confession had been obtained through torture, but that his confession had been obtained through torture and that his confession had been obtained through torture. “The president and his government are allegedly corrupt,” he said . He added that “some people are ashamed to claim that the investment program was adopted for the sake of the law firm that bears my name or that of my family members.”
THE FULL TEXT OF THE DANGER N. ANASTASIADIS
In times when a leader is judged or criticized, the first to be informed about what is attributed to him are none other than you, the citizens, who gave me the mandate but also to whom I am primarily accountable.
That is why I considered that before the announcement of the new measures and the strategy for combating corruption, I could not help but comment on the current situation in Cyprus.
And, of course, not to deny the existence of the phenomenon of corruption, a phenomenon that has plagued the Republic of Cyprus since its establishment or that of all countries since ancient times.
But what I want to highlight is the orchestrated attempt of some, through distortion of facts or whispers, to create the perception, either that the President of the Republic is involved in acts of corruption or the extent of the phenomenon, something that does not correspond to the real dimension. of the problem.
The rules of propaganda are timeless, well known, and even more effective, especially in times when society is being tested.
A phrase attributed to Goebbels states: “The bigger the lie and the more it is repeated, the more believable it becomes.”
This phenomenon is amplified today, with the rapid and uncontrolled spread of rumors, false news and slander, by Social Media.
Without mentioning other examples, I will limit myself to referring to the most recent phenomenon of public manipulation today.
We all witnessed what followed the election of the new President after the election in the United States, when, unfoundedly, the outgoing President claimed that the loss of the election was due to electoral fraud on the part of the Democrats, something he repeated every day for weeks.
As a result, tens of millions of American citizens, led by a section of the media and with targeted and repetitive messages on social media, despite the lack of documentation, accepted the claim as true, culminating in what happened in Kapi.
Unfortunately, similar phenomena are recorded in our country.
On the occasion of the existing weaknesses and gaps of a program aimed at restarting the economy, at a time when the country was facing the risk of bankruptcy, unemployment reached 16%, operating grocery stores, they blamed the Government for corruption and the entanglement of minorities. abused the program.
And this despite the fact that with sound and image, the society witnessed the people who exposed Cyprus internationally and who certainly did not belong to members of the Government or the ruling party.
Deliberately and ignoring the above realities, corruption was chosen as the field of unification of those who aimed, either to serve partisan interests, or those who disagree with the President's handling of the national problem, even if their positions in the Cyprus issue are conflicting, or even some who, in good faith, have adopted what is being shown 24 hours a day.
What causes sadness is the maximization of a problem, highlighting it as the only place the country faces, ignoring the threats of Turkey that endanger the existence of the Cypriot Hellenism, ignoring the pandemic and the problems that have accumulated, which threaten to bring to their knees businesses, workers and vulnerable groups.
The saddest thing is that ignoring the above conditions, some came to the point under the pretext of the so-called fight against corruption, to attempt to paralyze and collapse the state, refusing to vote on the budget, without actually disagreeing with its philosophy, instrumentalizing this, an independent state official.
How much does party or personal political survival outweigh the interests of the whole?
What I want is the restoration in the perception of the citizens of the real image and the problems that were created during the implementation of the Investment Program.
A program which all political leaderships had adopted since 2007 and until its abolition, had not challenged.
At the same time, I do not ignore the existence of gaps and weaknesses in the program, especially in terms of monitoring and control mechanisms.
I openly acknowledge and assume the political responsibilities of the government. This fact not only did not go unnoticed but also led the government to amend the program six times over a period of eight years. Nevertheless, abuse and criminal activity were not prevented by a portion of the perpetrators.
What I want to emphasize with the above is our political will to immediately investigate all cases and take drastic measures to punish those who fraudulently acted, but also to restore the credibility of the country.
Let me remind you that after the first publications, a Commission was appointed by the Council of Ministers, a Commission under Ms. Dimitra Kalogirou, whose investigation led to the identification of weaknesses, possible criminal offenses or other responsibilities by specific persons, who are currently being investigated for their actions.
I also point out that immediately after the publication of the events that took place in the house of a member of Parliament, it was decided:
(a) The immediate termination of the Investment program.
(b) The appointment of an Independent Citizenship Deprivation Examination Committee.
(c) While the Attorney General requested the appointment of an Investigative Committee, which is already proceeding with transparency and public meetings, in the full investigation of the entire Investment Program.
Related to the above appointment was the intervention in early September of the European Commissioner for Justice, who said that he expected from the Republic of Cyprus, the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry with expanded and quasi-judicial powers.
And my reports are not accidental because, as I have said above, through the systematic distortion of the facts, there is a daily attempt to create the impression that the Government is refusing or allegedly afraid of control by the Auditor General.
The answer to those who have adopted lies as a way of political survival, is given by the Auditor General himself in his written texts.
I quote verbatim what is mentioned in the announcement issued on 4/11/20 after his meeting with the Attorney General:
“Or since the Government is bound by the opinions of the Attorney General, the Auditor General recognizes and realizes that, despite his disagreement, at this stage no other files will be delivered to him and there is no question of appealing to the Court.”
While, in his report to the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Parliament, dated 13/11/20, in support of the Budget of the Audit Office, he states that:
“Or since the final position of the Government is (now) that we have jurisdiction to control the naturalization program, so there is no question of jurisdiction and therefore there is no such dispute for referral to the Supreme Court.”
Let me repeat that these written reports were made on November 4 and 13, long before the budget was voted down.
While, in my letter to the President of DIKO, on December 21, 2020, after quoting the above statements of the Auditor General, I stressed that: “it is clear that the Government neither denied nor denies the delivery of the files. “What he has done and is doing, is due respect for the opinions of the Attorney General, as the Auditor General himself acknowledges.”
I repeat this to make it absolutely clear: The Government has not raised or raised any objections, as the Auditor General receives the naturalization files immediately after the completion of the work of the Commission of Inquiry, in order for him to carry out the audits in accordance with his constitutional responsibilities.
After the above, I wonder how many more monstrous lies will be perpetrated by those who endangered the collapse of the state or the physical or economic survival of thousands of our fellow citizens.
Part of the same methodology is the attempt to question the morals, prestige and honesty of the four personalities who make up the Commission of Inquiry appointed by the Attorney General.
An effort that is completely identical with the instrumentalization of the Auditor General, with the aim of promoting him as the only honest and reliable one to carry out audits, knowing that his powers under the Constitution are limited, as explicitly stated in his statement. Attorney General Costas Clerides, on December 10.
Who can really challenge the targeted campaign of distortion and manipulation of public opinion, which aimed and has established to the citizens that the President and his Government, because they are corrupt, are supposedly afraid of control.
And it is not accidental for me to report, after we have reached the point where a journalist who admits that he does not have any information, to claim publicly, based on rumors, that the President of the Republic allegedly transferred hundreds of millions of profits from the investment program outside Cyprus. this, not contributing to the solution of the Cyprus problem, as he claims, we lost Famagusta and Morphou.
The equally unacceptable, instead of apologizing for the insult he uttered, since all the sources he cited denied him, he had the audacity to call me to prove that what he claimed was not a malicious lie and mud.
At the same time, some others, without being ashamed, claim that the investment program was adopted for the sake of the law firm that bears my name or that of my family members.
Ignoring the benefits to hundreds of companies, thousands of employees, hundreds of lawyers, auditors and other related professions, only a small portion of them abused and exploited the gaps and weaknesses of the program.
Ignoring the fact that some of those who uttered similar insults were among those who benefited from the program.
I will repeat that I do not waive any political responsibilities of the Government for the supervision and control of the program.
However, it should not be overlooked that the current critics were not only aware of the provisions of the exceptional naturalization programs, but were also fully aware of both the respective decisions and the details of the investors who acquired the Cypriot citizenship since the adoption of the program in 2007.
Equally important is that the institutional control of the correctness of the decisions of the executive power, constitutionally belongs to the Parliament, while the financial control to the Audit Service.
If the parliamentary parties, which today appear as protagonists in the fight against corruption, exercised their constitutional powers and obligations over time, then:
First. They would timely adopt the bills that have been pending for years, with the aim of combating corruption.
Secondly. They would adopt GRECO recommendations to the legislature on issues of transparency and the fight against corruption.
Thirdly. They would not support a program that they now claim was done for corruption, but instead should call for its abolition.
Fourth. They would exercise their institutional control role as they should have, based on the information provided to them on an ongoing basis.
The claim that the data were not sufficient for control is refuted by the fact that the investigation of the international television network was based on documents bearing the seal of the Parliament.
Fifth. The registration of ten issues for discussion in the Parliament, after the abolition of the program, is obviously due to the attempt to disorient the public opinion, after the revelation that among the protagonists of the scandal were their own executives.
I want to be upright and absolutely strict, reiterating that corruption is a real phenomenon.
If the Government did not recognize this, it would not have instituted a series of anti-corruption measures, but also of the important ones that will be announced tomorrow to deal drastically with the phenomenon.
The determination of myself and the government to fight corruption is recorded by the large number of prosecutions of state officials and not only, who were involved in corruption offenses.
A comparison of the number of convicts during my rule, compared to those convicted since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, would be enough to convince me of what I am saying.
However, as I have said above, the perception of the magnitude of corruption is different and the real dimensions of the phenomenon are different, as reflected in the reports of European and International Supervisory Organizations.
Indicatively I mention:
First. The latest report of the European Commission on the Rule of Law, published in October 2020, literally states “Or that for the first time 37 people have been convicted in 26 cases”, noting that there is an “improvement in anti-corruption indicators” in relation to with the past.
Secondly. Moneyvall positively evaluates the real progress made by our country in the fight against money laundering, at all levels.
Indicatively, I mention that in the technical part of the report, the Republic of Cyprus presents scores of full compliance or high compliance in all forty controlled parameters.
Thirdly. GRECO, in the fourth evaluation cycle of Cyprus, finds for the first time that none of the pending recommendations until the publication of the report concerns the executive branch.
Fourth. It should be noted that in April 2019, the US Undersecretary of the Treasury and one of the political leaders of the US Financial Crime Network (FinCEN) visited Cyprus, stating in his statements that: “Cyprus has made tremendous progress and improvements in the legal framework as well as law enforcement “.
Fifth. In August of the same year, a delegation from the US House of Representatives, led by the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, visited our country, stating that our country has made progress and presented an improved legal and regulatory framework against money laundering, stating: “Cyprus is now able to meet the challenges in the field of preventing money laundering.”
I ask for your understanding because I had to refer extensively to what constitutes the true dimensions of corruption, but also the extent of deliberate distortion through the spread of copperplate rumors or, due to partisan expediencies, the mud industry.
It is well known that in my long political presence, even the harshest of my critics recognize that I have never denied any bona fide or malicious criticism of any positions I have adopted or of any mistakes or omissions.
It is well known to political friends and opponents that instant bitterness has never been an occasion to maintain a relationship with those with whom I disagreed or disagreed.
This is a rule that I believe you either accept or do not accept and do not participate in politics.
But what I as a human being and not as a politician can not accept, is any systematic and orchestrated effort, through lies and rumors, to eat my morals, prestige and dignity.
I was sharp in my reports. But for months I have tolerated and endured an unprecedented attempt to derail, with derogatory implications, insults and immoral allegations that go beyond any limit of political culture and ethics.
I endured and endured, because I know very well that your demands from any President of the Republic, is not to be consumed in disputes of mutual responsibility, but in times of crisis, with his courage and decisions, to deal effectively with the great problems of the country.
That is why I oppose personal feelings of bitterness that are natural to me.
That is why I do not intend to return to this chapter until the work of the Commission of Inquiry has been completed.
The measures that will be announced tomorrow are the largest intervention ever made in the Republic of Cyprus, in order to create the strongest possible network of protection against corruption.
I call on all, with full respect for the different views, in a climate of constructive political confrontation, to jointly address both the problem of corruption and the other critical problems of existence that our people face.
I want to believe that what will prevail is patriotism, with which I credit all political parties.
This is what the citizens expect from the political system and I will continue to work in this direction, so that once again I can meet your expectations.