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Savvidis / Nikolatos Committee: The criteria for naturalization were built during the examination of applications

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Savvidis / Nikolatos Committee: The criteria for naturalization were built during the examination of applications

The criteria for naturalizations were built during the examination of applications and were not ready from the first moment, in 2007 when naturalizations began under the existing legislation regarding the naturalization of foreigners, he said before the Commission of Inquiries for Naturalization. the former Director General of the Ministry of Interior Lazaros Savvidis, who served as DG from 2004 to 2011.

At the same time, in relation to the delay in the preparation of an amending bill on naturalizations, which took place in 2013, since 2007 when the examination of applications began, Mr. Savvidis attributed this to “despite the many works that existed in the Ministry of Interior and in” problems with the operation of the Department of Population and Immigration Archive “, while regarding his opinion on whether the naturalization of the spouses of foreign businessmen was legal, Mr. Savvidis said that” based on the decision of the Council of Ministers and since there was no issue of unconstitutionality the answer is yes “.

Asked if he pointed out to the Minister or anyone else any mistakes in the process, Mr. Savvidis said “mistakes in the sense that from the beginning we should consult with all relevant services or with MOKAS”, adding that “we should have made authority ”and exploring some websites about applicants.

“The fact that we were late in preparing relevant amendments to the laws or regulations was something negative,” he said.

He also stated that at the beginning the process of examining the applications “was in the Department of Population and Immigration Archive but due to the very long delays that existed the Ministry of Interior decided to come to the Ministry of Interior and added that then we had differences between the Department and the Ministry .

Answering a question from the President of the Research Myron Nikolatos that the decision was made to establish the naturalization criteria of that period, Mr. Savvidis said that “after taking into account the criteria that were taken into account at the time, some criteria were set in writing” which satisfy the Ministries of Interior and Finance.

He stated that these criteria were submitted to the Council of Ministers on the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the process of studying the applications began, adding, however, that in the process “it seemed that there were gaps (in the criteria) and that” they had to be filled “.

Referring to an example, Mr. Savvidis said that the applicant asked for a Cypriot passport for his children who were minors and adults, who were financially dependent on him, while noting that there were cases of a spouse or parents if they were dependent on the applicant and the case of the applicant.

“These things should have been solved beforehand,” he added.

In addition, Mr. Savvidis said that among the criteria was the issue of good character (white criminal record) and because some were living abroad, it had to be decided by which body they should get this certificate of good character.

He also stated that it had to be decided whether or not they should reside in the Republic but also whether they should buy or rent a house which will be their permanent residence in the Republic.

Regarding the way of examining an application, Mr. Savvidis said that the small group that dealt with these issues started to examine the credibility or who of the applicants via the internet and whether the applicants had any negative that would appear from court decisions. other countries.

He noted that the number of applications was small and “too many times” a meeting of the applicants was arranged with the offices that were promoting their application, while then “we said that there is no case to evaluate an application before at least six months have passed.

In another question, Mr. Savvidis said that the financial criteria were set by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs always asked – from the first moment – to have the opinion of the Ministry of Finance.

In a remark of the member of the Committee Dimitra Kalogirou that there were cases at that time that were not sent to YPOIK and were examined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Savvidis said that he does not remember such cases and added that he does not remember a case that the whole copy did not go to YPOIK to make decisions.

In a remark of the member of the Committee Pavlos Ioannou that the role of YPOIK was crucial in the development of the project, Mr. Savvidis said that YPES did not have the know-how according to the competent service plans, adding that YPOIK knew about the financial issues ” much better “and the changes were made after studies by the Ministry of Education, which saw the applications.

Asked to comment on a proposal submitted in 2007 to the Council of Ministers for criteria and conditions in relation to exceptional naturalization of foreigners and whether this proposal was in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Savvidis answered in the affirmative.

Asked by Mr. Ioannou whether the assumption that what happened and then was in cooperation of the two Ministries is correct, Mr. Savvidis answered in the affirmative regarding the financial criteria.

Asked by Mr. Ioannou why the preparation of an amending bill on naturalizations was delayed, which took place in 2013, since 2007 when the examination of applications began, Mr. Savvidis said that he did not remember why no amendment to the legislation was passed, while stating that “There was a lot of work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and problems with the operation of the Department of Population and Immigration Archive, with too many delays in terms of applications.”

“We also had a lot of legislation that had to be prepared based on EU decisions, directives or regulations,” he said, adding that the delay was due to all the other concerns and problem-solving in the Department of Population and Immigration.

Answering another question, Mr. Savvidis said that the data of the M127 application form were used together with the criteria set by the Council of Ministers for the examination of the applications, adding, however, that “a new form had to be prepared, passed as a regulation and on that basis the applications should be submitted “, but this” was not done “.

Asked if the good character (white criminal record) of the applicant is ascertained, Mr. Savvidis said that this “should have come from the competent Ministries or Departments of the countries, be in force for at least the last three months” and be confirmed as official document of the country from which the document would come.

“I do not remember any requests from non-audit firms or law firms,” he said.

In remark of Mr. Ioannos that there was a number of applications that were forwarded by individuals and not by accounting or law firms, Mr. Savvidis said that he does not remember.

Asked by Commission member Kyriakos Kyriakou why it was decided in 2007 that criteria needed to be prepared to start the program, Mr. Savvidis said the decision was made by the Council of Ministers, while the then Interior Minister instructed to start the program.

Asked about the role of the DG of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in naturalizations, Mr. Savvidis said those who refer to the service plan of the Ministry which is to assist the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the formulation and implementation of policy issues and the implementation of relevant legislation.

Asked by Mr. Nikolatos who checked whether the criteria were met, Mr. Savvidis said that “it is the team of administrative officials that evaluated the application” and after the collaborating Ministries / department gave their own report.

At that time, before the proposal, a report on the application was submitted to the Council of Ministers and if the criteria were met, a proposal was prepared to the Council of Ministers and if not, as he said, a report was submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which would decide whether to forward it to the Council of Ministers. a negative decision or whether any other measures would be taken.

Also, Mr. Savvidis was asked to recognize his signatures on a form submitted as presumption IA, which he recognized, while in relation to a second document submitted as presumption IB, in which there was a note that “the Minister wants it” he stated that he does not recognize who is.

Silikiotis / Nikolatos Committee: “I do not remember any exceptional citizenship being approved by exception”

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Source: politis.com.cy

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