Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides thrives on confrontations that bring him media publicity. Many of the confrontations he instigates do not achieve anything other than his personal glorification, promoting his moral and professional superiority at the expense of the public officials he decides to pick on. This immature behaviour will eventually turn against him as people tire of his self-publicising and self-aggrandising antics.
On Monday, speaking at a seminar on combatting corruption, he decided to have a dig at his predecessor Chrystalla Georghadji, the current governor of the Central Bank, without naming her. First, he complained that at the audit service, “we had a mountain of checks that had not been completed for years” and then he accused her of covering up irregularities. He said: “Sometimes the service was being used as a tool to cover up, rather than expose, scandals. I am saddened to say it, but I can’t subscribe to a policy of offering immunity to every previous official since that would blatantly clash with the principles of accountability.”
If he had specific cases that Georghadji had covered up, as auditor-general why has he not reported her to the Attorney-general? Surely this is his duty and responsibility as an ethical official who does not subscribe to the policy of offering immunity to previous officials. Unless the only reason he made these insinuations against Georghadji was to assert his superiority and remind us of how much better he performs his duties.
The governor issued a brief response on Tuesday, saying that “most of the issues recently being presented as new, were raised and are recorded in the reports of the audit service of the past, and were never disputed before the courts.” This should have been the end of the matter, but it was not for Michaelides who issued another announcement openly accusing Georghadji of being lousy at her job and engaging in “indirect cover-ups.” The recording of cases of bad administration “without the necessary, in-depth investigation to create the conditions for the start of criminal investigations cannot lead to accountability,” he declared.
As part of his drive for self-glorification, Michaelides also mentioned the fact that he, as a lowly ministry official, had prepared a 50-page report about the “mega scandal of the Nicosia General Hospital,” which the “audit service had hushed up,” and this led to the president at the time ordering an investigation. Could the mention of this have had any other purpose than the glorification of Michaelides?
Georghadji may have not performed the job of auditor-general half as well as her successor but is this for him to say? If she was responsible for cover-ups of serious offences Michaelides should send a report to the Attorney-general and demand a criminal investigation against her instead of putting her down for the sole purpose of promoting his superiority.