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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The issue of financial independence was brought up by the Auditor General in the Department of Finance

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He noted that there is no other state service for which there was a pre-accession commitment of the Republic to ensure its financial independence

ΘΕμα οικονομικorσ αν εξαρτησΙας επαναφερε ο Γενικoς Ε λεγκτorς στην Επ. Οικονομικν

The issue of the financial independence of the Audit Service was brought up on Friday by the Auditor General of the Republic, Odysseas Michaelidis, during the meeting of the Parliamentary Finance and Budget Committee, in which the Service's Budget for 2024 was presented.

In his statement, Mr. Michaelidis called for the issue of the financial independence of the Audit Service to be reinstated, noting that the House of Representatives also has a role to play in this regard. He noted that there is no other state service for which there was a pre-accession commitment by the Republic that it would ensure its economic independence, adding that there was also an explicit reference in the troika's memorandum that this would be ensured.

Also, Mr. Michaelidis asked the Committee, within the framework of the regular parliamentary practice of cross-referencing the funds, such as for example the funds for consulting services, which are also included in the budget of the Elective Service, to include a note that the release is done with submitting a request directly to the Finance Committee and not through the Ministry of Finance.

The President of the Committee, Christiana Erotokritou, replied that a different procedure cannot be done for the Audit Service.

AKEL Member of Parliament, Irini Charalambidou, stated that the main principle of combating corruption is the strengthening of the supervisory authorities, pointing out that the Parliament does not show the political will to do so. He added that the financial autonomy of the Parliament was achieved and the issue of the Audit Service was left pending.

It was suggested that the Finance Committee not freeze any funds of the Audit Service, in order to avoid the process through the Ministry of Finance. She added that, in the opposite case, she herself will submit an amendment through which the freezing of the Audit Service's funds will not be requested, as a matter of principle.

Ms Charalambidou also mentioned that today there were complaints that two investigations were stopped due to the fact that the Chief of Police refused to give evidence and asked if it could be kept confidential so that there would not be any leak that would endanger or justified the concerns of the Chief of Police, with Mr. Michaelidis answering that the issue arose when the Audit Service decided to carry out an audit on the issues of the state's inability to collect extrajudicial fines and the audit that the Service wanted to do, with the Police to state that “it considers that you do not need to have this information and it is okay if we tell you that a total of 10,000 traffic fines were not collected, etc.”.

The second case, as explained by Mr. Michaelidis, concerns a case of weapons (pistols) that are charged to private individuals, but belong to the Republic of Cyprus, with the Police responding that for reasons of public order and security, the Control Service should not have this access. He stated that he has informed the President of the Republic about this case.

Source: www.kathimerini.com.cy

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