Insider / ΚΥΠΕ
The special report of the Auditor General of the Republic, Odysseas Michailidis, in relation to the purchase of a building by the government, for housing state services, was presented to the Parliamentary Audit Committee on Thursday.
According to the report of the Auditor General, the Government decided to purchase a building worth € 20 million at a price of € 22,650,000 million, which will house the Nicosia Outpatient Clinics, the Department of Dental Services, the Department of Company and Official Recipient and the Administration of the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy.
This is the Nicosia City Center (NCC) building, which was proposed for sale to the state by PCMK Holdings Ltd, in the Call for Expressions of Interest to the private sector published by the Ministry of Finance on 13.9.2019, according to the Decision of the Council of Ministers with No. 87.871 and dated 25.7.2019, for the sale of suitable real estate to the state to cover the housing needs of ministries / Services.
In addition, the company that builds the building signed a lease agreement with the Foundation “Vocational School Eugenia Theodotou” to which the land belongs, while it is noted that the Foundation is represented by the chairman of the Management Committee of the Foundation, the Archbishop of Cyprus, total duration 99 years (1.7.2019 – 31.6.2118).
According to the Auditor General of the Republic, the decision to purchase the building was made in violation of the Law on Financial Responsibility and the Financial Framework Law and without available credits in the state budget and relevant provision for the purchase of such a building.
It is noted that this building is located opposite the former Hilton Hotel in Nicosia was intended to house shops and offices but for some reason the attempt failed and eventually sold to the state.
The Nicosia City Center building is under construction, located at the junction of Kallipoleos and Ethnikis Frouras streets.
In statements after the session, DISY MP Onoufrios Koullas said that “the technocratic evaluation team of this building, which consists of three General Managers, as well as the Director of the Land Registry, say that it is a profitable market for the state” .
This emerges, he added, “through specialized economic analysis and is not seen or can not be seen simply by reading two or three numbers. In particular, compared to building a similar building, it is estimated that the state will have an economic benefit of 7 million “.
AKEL MP, Irini Charalambidou, spoke about “Cyprus, the land of miracles under Anastasiadis”, noting that for the first time after 60 years of existence of the Republic, the purchase of a building has been decided, which has been erected on land leased by its owner “.
As he said “the land belongs to an institution chaired by the Archbishop”, to add that “the building was costed above its market value according to the Auditor General”.
“Not only will € 22.5 million be paid for the purchase of the building, but in addition the Republic will pay € 140 thousand per year rent to the institution for the rent of the land. “And all this at a time when there is state land available for the construction of government offices,” he said.
He said that “this Government is implementing new practices and serious questions are being raised regarding the incentives for the specific decisions and according to the Auditor General, the construction cost of the building, based on the VAT related to the transactions of the owner company, which until is currently operating exclusively with the construction of this building, it is half of the amount agreed to be sold to the public “.
He added that “another important element is that the building will be handed over for use to the public without having a certificate of final approval, which according to the Audit Office is a criminal offense”, to note that “if you look who is a shareholder in the owner company, who he is the architect, otherwise remarkable in his work, hence he has undertaken a lot of works of another specific person, further questions are created for the whole conciliation “.
The MP of the Movement of Ecologists – Citizens' Cooperation, Stavros Papadouris, stated for his part that “if at the end of the day the Government was a real estate management company and the Public Works was a Contracting Company, they would have gone bankrupt for many years”.
He noted that his Movement will cross this line even though “at the end of the day many colleagues disagree and believe that it is a profitable purchase by the state”.
“I understand that maybe this building can provide government services with what they need, but since when do we stop negotiating in the right way and go straight to markets, which in my opinion are irrational,” he asked.