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“I did not hear, I did not see and I do not know”, says Socrates about letters of intervention to the Parliament

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The General Director of the Parliament, Socrates Socrates, did not accept any intervention in matters of naturalization, the General Director of the Parliament, Socrates Socratous, submitted on Tuesday to the Investigative Committee of exceptional naturalizations of foreign investors and businessmen.

“From anyone, I tell you categorically”, he answered a question of Commissioner Dimitra Kalogirou, while in another question of hers if he has in mind whether letters of intervention were sent to others, he answered “I did not see anything referring to such a thing”.

Ms. Kalogirou asked the DG of the Parliament if she knew about a case of a Ukrainian for whom it seems that a letter was sent to the Speaker of the Parliament for derogations and she answered “I have not seen them”.

He was asked about another case of correspondence of officials of the Ministry of Interior, which concerned other naturalization cases, with reference to the name of Mrs. Kaoulla (official in the Ministry) and the posting in the correspondence “what happened, why does the office of the Speaker of Parliament ask”? Mr. Socrates replied “I did not hear, I did not see and I do not know. “Never.” Ms. Kalogirou even gave a copy of this letter to Mr. Socrates and invited him to read it before the Commission.

The DG of the Parliament, who was appointed in 2019, while before acting as Deputy DG from March to August 2018, stated before the Commission in a question to the President Myron Nikolatos, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent information to the Parliament about the people who submitted an application for naturalization and purposes, without further details, and that these documents and information were forwarded to the Home Committee and party leaders and entered in a confidential file.

Asked by Commissioner Ioannou that the law provided for the Parliament to be informed in advance and how he perceives this, Mr. Socrates replied that “as interpreted by the competent Parliamentary Committee, it was for information purposes and not for control. That's what I understood. “

He also said that he did not know how long it took from the sending of the letter to the Parliament until the examination of the application in the Council of Ministers.

In another question, the DG of the Parliament said that he does not know if it is stated somewhere in some minutes that the Committees (Interior and Control) will be limited to updating the documents that came from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the naturalizations. He said that the Committees did not consider the proposals and did not have any information at their disposal.

To a clarifying question whether these requests were ever examined by the Parliament, Mr. Socrates answered “he did not examine them, he did not have the necessary data for examination”.

The DG of the Parliament further said that the Parliament received the proposals and was informed. He reminded that the relevant legislation was first passed in 2013 and the Parliament and moreover the Audit Committee discussed the issue afterwards and prepared relevant reports.

According to Mr. Socrates, the Commission has prepared a draft report on its investment program and it will be presented at its meeting the day after tomorrow and will be forwarded to the Research Committee.

In a remark of Ms. Kalogirou that in a statement he said earlier that the Parliament did not have enough information on what was sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, according to Ms. Kalogirou, what was sent is the same as what was submitted for approval to the Ministry, Mr. Socrates said that a proposal was coming from the executive power, “but before that I suppose there was more information, we did not know that, the Parliament was not the recipient”.

To a remark that the Parliament, if it wanted, could have requested more information, he answered “Yes”.

Mr. Socrates said that the Parliament did not have information on when the Minister would decide on an application and when it would be examined. “We did not know when it would be filed, we were told this application would go, but we did not know when,” he said.

Commenting that the Parliament received 3,500 notes and that it archived these files, the DG of the Parliament said “yes, they are all archived. The Committee (Interior) and the party leaders were informed and the Committee dealt with the legislation. Most of the discussion was in Control “.

In a clarifying question from the President of the Research, Mr. Socrates said that the files coming from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs included the names of the people who applied for naturalization and the reason. “That is, if someone was an investor in real estate, that he was a citizen of that country and is applying for investment reasons, he had no other information, and wrote his full name,” he said.

Asked if any information was submitted about who was promoting the applications, for developers, etc., the DG of the Parliament said that after a request in 2018 a list of providers acting as intermediaries was sent and this list has already been forwarded to the Investigative.

“Previously, no, we did not have such information (for intermediaries),” he said.

To another question that in 2016 MP George Perdikis had registered an issue which was discussed only in 2018 and 2019 and whether this means that it was ranked as a low priority, Mr. Socrates explained that “maybe because the Commission considered that there were other developments, he went on with the rest, and maybe there was not the necessary majority for discussion “.

He said he withdrew because it was a matter of the previous parliamentary term and rewrote the new term.

Asked about the prior information of the Parliament based on the law, he said that “our perception was that the documents were for the information of the Parliament and not for approval. The competent Minister sent and said that he (the application) would go to the Ministry, there was no reason to dispute “.

Asked if Parliamentary officials had the task of examining the file, the DG of the Parliament replied that at official level there were no instructions in the secretariats of the Committees to study these proposals, but the secretariat of the Committee received these proposals and also the person on file, who was in charge of managing classified information, archiving it in a confidential file.

He also said that the Parliament did not receive any information or information about the rejection of any proposal to the Ministry. “I have not seen any letter saying that (an application) was rejected,” Socrates said.

Asked if he considered that the way the Parliament handled the issue of information was correct and satisfactory, he said that he was asked to make an assessment of politicians and limited himself to saying that “maybe I would have handled it differently”.

In another question whether the Attorney General or the Legal Service was ever summoned to the Parliament for a position on the legality of the operation of the KEP, the DG of the Parliament said that on 25/4/2013 it seems that representatives of the Attorney General's office were summoned and attended the Parliament. for discussion of n / s.

In a remark that he was present on duty and whether he was specially called to answer questions about the KEP process, he replied “not from what I have in mind”.

He also mentioned that in the discussions from time to time in the Parliament the issue of the necessity for the adoption of regulations was raised and finally these discussions started in 2019.

Commenting that in the period 2007-2013 and onwards he always included in the letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that in due time a bill and regulations would be submitted and whether the Parliament ever wondered when they would be submitted, Mr. Socrates said that “obviously the Commission did not care” .

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Source: politis.com.cy

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