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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Kicked off and Cyfield was rewarded

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Εδωσε μΙζεσ κα&iota ; επιβραβεύτηκε η Cyfield

By Alexia Kafetzis

Not only they remain unpunished but some contracting companies are rewarded that are found by court decisions to offer kickbacks to secure public tenders.

The issue was examined yesterday by the Institutions Committee of the Parliament where a nominal reference was made to the company Cyfield which is related to the energy company in Vassiliko. As the Auditor General testified, “we are looking into allegations that this company (Cyfield) is acting as a state-in-state without permits, without respecting any process, and a relevant report will be issued”.

The Institutions Committee examined the case of the provision of millions in bribes by natural persons and contracting companies in the SAPA case, for which there has been a decision of the Paphos Criminal Court since 2014, but more than eight years later they “remain unpunished” by their professional bodies, namely the Council for the Registration and Control of Contractors and the ETEK.

«This is what citizens see, this is what society sees and discredits usand the feeling of deep entanglement and corruption towards the citizens is consolidated. This personally disgusts and disgusts me”, the President of the Commission, Dimitris Dimitriou, said in his statements, saying that the Commission will request the material from the hearing of the case by the Disciplinary Council of the Council of Contractors “to see how we correct this very wrong and shameful situation”.

The issue was discussed ex officio following a proposal by Irini Charalambidou (AKEL) and Alexandra Attalidou (independent), in the presence of the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, the Auditor General and other officials.

“The message we are sending is that every fraudster will find refuge in the tolerance or in the expediency of those who want to let him escape,” said Mrs. Charalambidou both speaking before the Commission and in her statements, speaking of < strong>“degeneration of institutions and supervisory bodies”.

For her part, Mrs. Attalidou stated that what was done is at the expense of the public interest and the citizens, because the taxpayers are paying for it. “For years we have mocked this people, we talk about transparency for justice, while we know that behind closed doors agreements are made, money is exchanged and in the end those who are involved continue and Nicosia is full of signs with those involved,” he said.

The Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Alexis Vafeadis, who was a member of the Contractors Council, told the Commission that he started the process in June 2015 by appointing an investigating officer and continued it in his second term when he was reappointed in 2016, sending indictments to those involved companies.

But he claimed that the Council appointed in 2019 did nothing about the matter, while the next Council appointed in August 2021 which started the case afresh with 17 sessions and ended with the end of its term, decided, in January 2024 after 8.5 years from the beginning of the trial and 15 years from the commission of the offenses and for the fact that there was no previous conviction, that there is no time to complete the process.

In this point, Mr. Vafeadis said that he shares the sentiments of the MPs, adding that he intends to submit a bill that would regulate faster procedures and an easy way for the Council to reach easier decisions.

Phaedon: To open again

The Mayor of Paphos, Phaidon Phaidonos, described the Minister of Transport as sympathetic, but noted that he is among those “who bear a share of the responsibility for the closure or non-trial” of the case.

Two Mayors and four municipal councilors were sentenced for one and a half million in kickbacks and another approximately €2 million in undisclosed kickbacks, he argued, resulting in overpayments and malpractice during the stage of the A' and B' phase of the SAPA network, and financial benefit for the companies around €30 million. “So there was a real cost to the taxpayer of about €34 million from overpayments to these gentlemen,” he said, adding that companies filed appeals in the Courts with claims of €20 million, while SAPA has counterclaims €20 million.

As he said, the intention of the SAPA Legal Adviser is to denounce on a personal level all the members of the Councils for not performing their duties adequately, on the basis of the need for due diligence. “And failure to show due diligence entails a criminal offence”, he added.

He also emphasized that SAPA is asking for the case to be reopened.

He finally mentioned the ELEKTOR case, which has been excluded from public contracts after a judgment by the Court, however it continues to manage the Larnaca smelter.

General Auditor: To be excluded

For his part, the Auditor General Odysseas Michaelidis stated that companies involved in criminal cases can be excluded by the Exclusion Committee from participating in public contracts either on an ad hoc basis or horizontally.

He referred to the company Cyfield, which won the tender for the Nicosia Municipal Theatre, while it is connected to the company Nemesis “involved in SAPA” and the Bid Council considered that “one Cyfield, another Nemesis”, which was confirmed by an opinion of the Law Service. He also recalled the case of Metropolitan, which the company “cut” into an “unprofitable offer for the state”, as he said, with the Parliament approving the disbursement of the fund.

Besides, the General Secretary of ETEK Platonas Stylianou said that the disciplinary process before the disciplinary board continues and added that the Chamber has the will to continue examining the case. He refrained, however, from giving further details because of the risk of “contaminating the process”.

Xenia Kleopa, President of the previous Contractors Registration Council, said that the Council restarted the process following the legal advice of the lawyer Achilleas Emilianidis.

For her part, Irini Neophytou, Vice President of the Council for a second term and Senior Lawyer of the Republic, explained that in these cases the principles of administrative law are applied and “if the body is changed, the process starts from the beginning to ensure a fair trial”.

He noted that with the exception of one company, Loizos Iordanou who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a license demotion, no other company pleaded guilty and the trial began, adding that the issue of reasonable time was taken into account in the consideration of the case.

< p>“That is why we came to the conclusion that the delay of over 8.5 years of adjudication could only lead us to decide that the time that had passed could not be justified and therefore the disciplinary process could not be carried out”, added.

Besides, AKEL MP Andreas Pasiourtidis questioned whether the previous Councils, in the way they handled the matter, created the background for the exemption of the companies. “This raises the suspicion that some people probably participated in creating the background for the exemption of the companies,” he said. to reach the conclusion that justice in Cyprus serves the interests of the accused”.

DIKO MP Zacharias Koulias said that the Parliament should review the powers that professional bodies have. “But let's not wait for two professional bodies to impose penalties, we have a hole in our legal system,” he concluded

Furthermore, the independent MP Andreas Themistokleous said that if these companies committed criminal offenses one would expect that they should have been instructed to investigate by the Police. “So what did the Police do?”, he asked.

Source: 24h.com.cy

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