After a long debate, the Plenary Session of the Parliament passed a law on the establishment and operation of an Independent Authority against Corruption. 42 MPs voted in favor, while there were 3 abstentions from the Green Movement.
The five-member Anti-Corruption Authority will be responsible for taking the necessary initiatives and actions to ensure the coherence and effectiveness of the actions of public, wider and private services in matters of prevention and fight against corruption against modern standards. and the recommendations of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).
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The Plenary also unanimously voted for an amendment by EDEK MP Kostis Efstathiou in order to delete the provisions regarding the maintenance of a register of complaints, which includes information and personal data.
An amendment of the parties DISY, AKEL, DIKO to article 10 was also voted by a majority and with the abstention of the Ecologists. following a briefing by the Attorney General of the Republic, no parallel action is initiated or terminated. It is understood that the Authority may request and receive information on the progress of the above cases from the Attorney General.
At the same time, the amendments of the Movement of Ecologists and Citizens' Cooperation were rejected by the majority with the main aim of adding investigative powers to the Commission.
Speaking in plenary, EDEK MP Kostis Efstathiou said that the establishment of the Authority in the legal arsenal against corruption is a positive point. We are succeeding, he said, in creating an authority that will speak, listen, inspect, question, criticize or disapprove of, and endorse the prosecution of corruption. What is expected, he said, is its implementation in practice. Explaining his amendment, he said that there should be no access to the register of complaints in order not to turn the Authority into a witch hunt, where characters will be killed in the run-up to the elections only because they were reported to the Authority and not because there were convictions. & nbsp;
ELAM MP Sotiris Ioannou said that corruption is one of the biggest problems facing the country and they will support any weapons & nbsp; given to fight it. He added that corruption was largely linked to politics and parties, and that despite the Commissions and the findings of various scandals, there was no willingness to punish those involved.
The President of the Movement of Ecologists – Citizens' Cooperation Charalambos Theopemptou referred to the party's amendments and said that the first concerns the issue of submitting the list by the Advisory Council, which requests to be submitted directly to the President of the Republic and not to the Legal Committee. names and leaks. The second amendment, he added, concerns giving the Authority investigative powers, so that it can actually search and find the culprits, and thanked the Pancyprian Bar Association for the relevant suggestions and assistance.
On behalf of DIPA – Cooperation of Democratic Forces, MP Marinos Mousiouttas said that the party and its MPs, who in the past have made many proposals for credibility, transparency and justice, but also for the incompatibility, will vote so in favor of Independent Authority against Corruption as well as for the legislation of “lobbying” and will continue to work for similar initiatives. However, he noted that nothing will change if we do not change our mentality, no matter how many laws are made.
AKEL MP Andreas Passiourtidis stated that the problem with corruption is not the legislative framework since the Government has at its disposal many legislative tools but the lack of political will. He stated that many of AKEL's proposals for the Independent Authority against Corruption were adopted in the text of the bill, resulting in its improvement and strengthening. We helped, the Authority noted, to acquire “teeth” since the original bill was intended to serve only the communication needs of the Government. We have, he said, today a text that can be a useful tool in preventing and combating corruption. At the same time, he said that they do not have illusions given that the levels of corruption and entanglement are very high and they believe that & nbsp; the current Government is not the one that can provide the solution.
The Member of Parliament for Ecologists Alexandra Attalidou said that we can not talk about an effective fight against corruption if the investigation of the incidents is not done by the Authority itself. & nbsp; He said that if the House really wants to fight corruption, it should give investigative powers to the Authority, sending a strong message and showing zero tolerance for corruption.
DIKO MP Panikos Leonidou spoke about important changes that have taken place in the bill and strengthen its prestige. He added that for DIKO a key issue of principle is the need for cooperation of the Parliament in the appointment of the members of the Authority, without any conflict of powers. He added that with the interventions of DIKO, a strong functional and effective bill was created with provisions that would strengthen the investigation on any issues without confusion of powers. He expressed reservations about whether the Authority could have investigative powers, since according to the Constitution, this power is vested in the Attorney General and the prosecutorial authorities.
The President of DIKO Nikolas Papadopoulos referred to the bad image of Cyprus in the European area regarding the phenomenon of corruption and the need to rebuild it. In relation to the bill he said it is an important step in the right direction. He added that the original bill did not provide any substantial powers and responsibilities for the authority and its members would be vulnerable to the President's favor without real powers and responsibilities. He also said that the Authority will have investigative and investigative powers to collect evidence and even take an affidavit, however it does not have any power to proceed with a criminal case in court, this power should be exercised by the Attorney General. He also noted that he does not realize what additional investigative powers we are discussing.
in Cyprus. Finally, he stated that the Authority should have the appropriate budget and means to carry out its work.
DISY MP and Chairman of the Legal Committee Nikos Tornaritis, said that the Authority will have preventive, educational, constituent, investigative and investigative responsibilities. We brought, he said, a result in practice and he expressed his regret for those who are trying to reduce this great success of the Cypriot state. He also said that “we all succeeded together”. We are voting, he said, a very important tool and we are harmonizing with the modern world, with & nbsp; Moneyval, Greco and with all the countries that have the mechanisms to fight corruption. He added that the Authority does not belong to any state body and does not accept orders and instructions from anyone. He also said that they made the appointment of the Authority completely independent.
He also noted that the Minister of Justice, who had made a significant contribution to the whole effort, as he said, informed them that any funds for the operation of the Commission would be paid immediately. Regarding the investigative powers suggested by the Ecologists, he stated that by burdening the Authority with powers in the end, we will achieve the opposite result, making it ineffective.