The Ministry of Tourism, in relation to the Special Report of the Audit Office, for the Ministry of Tourism, which was published yesterday, publishes a detailed Report with its comments and observations on a number of issues mentioned in the report.
Among other things, he refers to the issue of the lease of state land in the Municipality of Ayia Napa, noting that he does not understand how reports on this issue in the Report of the Audit Office contribute to transparency.
According to the State Department, it is also not able to understand what they offer to the transparency, which the Audit Office invokes, and why they need, especially since the Office has not come up with something reprehensible, reports that are so contained in the summary. as well as in the text of the report.
The reports of the Audit Services on this issue as quoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are as follows: of democracy. This person does not appear to have shares in the company and became a director in November 2015, at the same time as entering the share capital and the management of the foreign investor company, which (through his companies) acquired control of 80% of its share capital. company C.
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We also mention that the foreign investor, who, as mentioned above, acquired in 2015 the control of 80% of the share capital of company C, received in 2016 the Cypriot citizenship, within the framework of the Cyprus Investment Program (KEP), something for which our Service, with the data before it, does not have any observation “.
“From the above, the State Department has nothing to comment on the content of this part, including the recommendation which is general and which the State Department always implements,” it said.
It is added that for the assistance of the Audit Service, the State Department communicates this answer, together with the special report of your Service, Secretariat of the Council of Ministers (due to references to Decisions of the Council of Ministers) and the Ministries, Departments of which are mentioned in the report, for any actions they deem appropriate based on their responsibilities.
It is also noted that these reports are not related to the responsibilities of the CTO, of which the Ministry of State is an evolution. Consequently, the State Department cannot diagnose how the specific extracts are related to the control of the correctness of the procedures for the execution of the responsibilities of the Ministry of Tourism.
Among other things, the State Department states that in accordance with the recommendation of the Audit Office, it will submit a proposal for the appointment of State Department Officers as Coordinators of the Marine Contracts Monitoring Committees, at the next meeting of the Marine Management Committee. Regarding the Members of the Monitoring Committees of the mentioned Contracts, it is appropriate to include properly trained technical staff with a background in engineering science and / or experience in managing contracts for projects of this scope, from other Government Services. Therefore, the Members of the Marine Management Committee will be invited to nominate respective Officers from the Services they represent.
In another issue raised by the Audit Office in its report, namely the payment of a grant of € 260,000 to a private company for the organization of two golf tournaments, the State Department states that “from examining the content of the special report we have found that they are not clearly reflected. substantive issues concerning this issue, which were discussed at length in our two letters dated 30.12.2020 and 28.1.2021. let's repeat them briefly. “
He notes that, in principle, the report makes no reference to the procedure followed by the State Department for the approval and payment of sponsorship, except for fragmentary reports and adds that the whole process was analyzed extensively and specifically, especially in his letter dated. 28.1.2021.
Indicatively, the statement that the entire amount of expenses of the tournament was subsidized is not correct, as the total expenses of the event were less than those that were subsidized, while this amount did not include other expenses such as promotion, which were determined by the Ministry. explicitly from the outset that it was not going to subsidize.
Secondly, he states, the report does not mention the benefits that Cyprus gained from the holding of the tournaments as well as that, if the sponsorship was not granted, the event would not take place in Cyprus, as a result of which these advantages would not have been obtained.
Third, the State Ministry disagrees with the positions of the Service that the “Decision of the Council of Ministers, dated. 15.3.2019, which approved specific criteria for sponsorships granted by the Ministry of Tourism, we consider important that the whole rationale of the Decision was the establishment of specialized criteria for transparency purposes “and that it excludes any other actions from the granting of sponsorships by the provided that they meet the criteria laid down in this Decision.
Fourth, as he states in his commentary, the report does not mention the reasons why the Ministry of State did not address the State Aid Control Commissioner and continues to state briefly what is mentioned on the subject in the letters dated. 30.12.2020 and 28.1.2021.
Finally, the State Department considers the comment that “we consider it unacceptable for the State Department to subsidize 100% of the eligible expenses of an event…” to be completely inappropriate.
“Obviously, EV has not realized the size of the event, nor the huge costs of its implementation, nor that any company in Cyprus could cover these costs, in the midst of a pandemic. The country's tourism industry has suffered a 90% reduction in revenue, which naturally makes it impossible to hold events without the significant support of the Ministry of State, which of course is decided after a thorough and serious assessment of its importance exclusively for the country. us “he concludes.
The full text with the comments and answers of the State Department on a number of issues can be found here .