YOU KNOW elections are nigh when the public lunacy indicators hit red and politicians are flashing the taxpayer’s cash, making spending promises, which would bankrupt an economy five times the size of Kyproulla’s if just a quarter of them were kept.
There is no need to worry as our politicians are proven liars, while those that never lie, like Prez Nik, are attacked by a mysterious amnesia bug that takes on epidemic proportions in patticha republics as soon as elections are over and ensure everything is forgotten.
There is a scientific explanation for this. Medical researchers have found that after an exhausting, punishing election campaign, the immune system of candidates is severely weakened and cannot fight the virus, scientifically known as amnesia politikanticus. There is a vaccine, but politicians refuse to have it because one of the after-effects is a burning desire to solve the Cyprob according to Turkish diktats.
Our prez may have been posing as Father Christmas entertaining children in a toy store, as he invites the leaders of any group representing more than 20 people, demanding money from the government to the presidential palace and promises to make their wishes come true. The only difference from Father Christmas is that he does not make his guests sit on his knee to make their request, unless it is a youthful she.
FOR BIG groups of voters that cannot be satisfied with a cash gift from the taxpayer of a few tens of thousands of euro Prez Nik has come up with a brilliant idea to make them happy. A state fund will be set up to pay all types of deserving and undeserving victims ‘compensation’ in instalments for many years to come.
The fatherhood of the National Fund of Compensation and Social Coherence may have been claimed by Averof Neophytou and Yiorkos Lillikas, but there is little doubt it was spawned by Santa Ni-Claus himself. A few weeks before it was announced, the council of ministers sent a proposal to the House for the selling of some 40 pieces of premium state land, the money from which would have gone to the Fund.
The Fund would compensate the so-called haircut victims, who altogether amount to about 25,000 voters, a number big enough to swing any presidential election. Eligible for compensation would be Laiki depositors that lost their uninsured deposits, B of C depositors that lost half their uninsured deposits, B of C shareholders that lost 99 per cent of their shares, bank employees’ pension funds and, of course the constantly whining, moaning, ball-busting bank bondholders.
The total cost of full compensation of all these groups is close to 10 billion euro. They might even have five per cent of their losses covered if the fund last the full 10 years Averof and Lillikas proposed.
NOTE: the fact that Olympic opportunist Lillikas joined forces with Disy in the Fund farce is a tell-tale sign of his election strategy. In the second Sunday vote, from which he will be excluded, he will sell his voters to Prez Nik in exchange for the post of foreign minister. The deal, probably has been struck. The only reason the principled Paphite would compromise his ideals and become a member of the hated Nik’s government is to ensure the Fund keeps paying out compensation to the poor haircut victims. As the poet said, greater love hath no man than he who sacrifices his ideals and values to ensure bank bondholders are compensated.
ONLY A loony-bin country like ours could be seriously discussing the possibility of the taxpayer compensating greedy investors who put their money in bank bonds because they would earn interest of between 6 and 7 per cent. As the banks misled them and supposedly ripped them off, logically, the banks are liable to compensate them and not the state.
But because the ball-busters’ boss is a presidential candidate and opinion polls show him getting 2 per cent of the vote which Nik and Nikolas would be fighting for in the run-off, the bondholders had to be compensated by the taxpayer. By the time the election arrives the politicians will be promising to compensate investors in pyramid schemes as well.
Meanwhile, Laiki depositors, known as Sykala, will also play the election blackmail card. Sykala announced on Thursday that it would have a meeting to decide which presidential candidate it will back on December 18, once details of how they would be compensated became clearer. In short, the Sykala vote will go to the highest bidder, who in this case will also be the biggest liar.
PREZ NIK might lose the Sykala vote because he never lies, even though Nikolas 2018 might not have a big advantage given that the National vote-buying fund, proposed by the two Paphite party leaders enjoys the full backing of all parties.
Nikolas might still have an edge if he promises Sykalaians to pay them a bonus out of his own pocket over and above the compensation they would receive from the taxpayer. Santa Ni-Claus, however has a couple of other state funds in his sack of presents that he will exclusively benefit from.
On Tuesday reps of the Pancyprian Association of Owners of Occupied Properties (Pasypeka) visited the palace and they all left with big smiles on their faces. One of the promises made to them by Nik was the creation of a fund for the relief of displaced owners of occupied properties, so they would not be forced to apply for compensation to the Turks; Immovable Properties Commission. The fund would compensate displaced owners for loss of use of their properties, but until it started paying out, their debts to the state agency for refugees would be frozen.
Nik also arranged meeting on Monday of the Pasypekans with the interior minister who will be thrilled to work out the mechanics of the money-wasting.
ANOTHER fund for refugees is set to be announced in the coming days by the Prez. This was revealed on a radio show on Friday, by leader of the refugee mothers Markella Tsiakka, who had successfully campaigned for the children of refugee women to inherit refugee status. For years only men could pass on their refugee status to their non-refugee kids.
Markella had visited the palace last week to discuss a great injustice with Santa. Many kids of refugee mothers had bought or built homes, before the law that recognised them as refugees was passed and therefore received no cash assistance from the state. The prez quickly found a way tackling this injustice.
He would set up a fund – it might be the one that compensates Pasypeka members – and it would offer one-off payments to children of refugee mothers that paid for their homes without scrounging any money from the state. The future of state finances depends on the amnesia virus kicking in next February at the latest.
IT WAS not all plain sailing for the Prez’s campaign last week. It was dealt a blow by a report in Haravghi last Sunday claiming that he was the owner of a big part of the land in Pera Pedi on which a Russian investor planned to build a hotel, spa, stables and sports facilities.
The denial of the palace was immediate. The development had “nothing to do in any way with property belonging to the president,” a claim that was not entirely accurate. The next day Nik, when it was point out that he had included the plot in his capital statement, admitted that he owned a twelfth of the land, given to him by his mother, but had not sold his part, which was a ditch. His brother and sister sold their shares of the land to the Russian.
How the crafty Nick was fooled into agreeing taking a worthless ditch as his twelfth of the four donums, nobody knows. Another unanswered question was how could the Russian businessman have agreed to buy the land, without assurances that he would secure all the necessary permits for the development? Who could have given these assurances that were necessary for the sale to go through? Nik’s brother or his sister?
DESPITE the convincing explanations of the owner of the Pera Pedi ditch, the story did not go away as Akelites were determined to keep it in the news. Fed up of the negative publicity and certain he had done nothing wrong, Nik invited the auditor-general to carry out an investigation into the sale of the land and establish if the prez had any involvement.
The weird thing was that this had nothing to do with the state – it was a private transaction – and the auditor-general had no authority investigating it. Odysseas agreed to investigate, knowing that nobody would censure him for taking on a job outside his remit that he had no right to perform. But as unaccountable independent state official, Odysseas can do what he pleases, like violating his terms of employment that do not include the investigation of private land sales.
THE PHED Express struck again on Friday, accusing the head of the Road Transport Department Sotiris Koletas of negotiating a contract with bus companies that gave the latter a super-profit of €35 million per year. How could the companies now be offering the same public transport service for €55 million, asked the mayor. The original contract was for €90m.
He made his accusations against Koletas on the Trito radio show. Half an hour later, having gone to his office and read his notes about the buses scam, he called the show again to give more information. The presenter, aware that repeating his allegations on air could cause legal problems for Rik, told Mayor Phed he could speak as long as he did not mention names.
“If I cannot mention names I will not speak to you,” replied the fearless Phed, inviting those he accused to sue him. He then proceeded to make more allegations uttering Koletas’ name at least a dozen times. Respect – the man is a legend, even though he is from Paphos.
WE MAY have failed to become a regional centre for education, health and energy (Prez Nik found us a new role this week telling us we would become the ‘energy gateway of Europe’ whatever that means) but, no matter how hard we try we cannot get rid of the title of ‘money-laundering centre’.
The Paul Manafort indictment by the US authorities cited a long list of wire transfers of millions of bucks carried out by Cyprus banks on the instructions of Cyprus-registered companies owned by him. We have cleaned up our act since then, by tightening up anti-money laundering regulations but still have a colossally ineffective anti-money laundering unit, known as Mokas that has not once exposed a case of money laundering in more than 10 years of existence.
OUR AUTHORITIES have a habit of going easy on law-breakers, because often they are in awe of their resourcefulness. A shareholder of Ydra insurance company who was also the company’s lawyer found a smart way of getting paid, without paying VAT or income tax. Rather than invoice the company for his services and charge VAT, he would submit a fictitious claim and collect payment for it without having to declare it to the Inland Revenue. When he was eventually caught, he agreed to pay what he owed the taxman and suffered no consequences. He remained a director of the company as his fellow board members (one was Bishop Nikiforos) had no complaints and the Registrar of Insurance still considered him “fit and proper” to sit on the board. All he did was file fictitious claims to fool the taxman.
Prez Nik could consider setting up a special fund to compensate the tax authorities that are losing millions in revenue from undeclared incomes. The taxpayer would be happy to pick up this bill as well.