By George Psyllides
THE attorney-general has ruled that a Central Bank (CBC) appointment made by the previous administration was illegal, the government said yesterday.
Former ruling party AKEL charged that the current administration was trying to put the CBC under its control.
Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said the government initially considered the appointment lawful but as it turned out, with a ruling from the attorney-general also, it was not legal.
Lambros Kaikitis was appointed by Demetris Christofias’ cabinet on February 20, just four days before a runoff vote in a presidential election not contested by the former president.
It was not announced at the time and was only published in the Government Gazette in March, after the new administration took office.
The CBC and former finance minister Vasos Shiarly, who supposedly recommended Kaikitis, said they knew nothing about the appointment.
Shiarly was absent from the cabinet meeting and was being replaced by former communications minister Efthimios Flourentzos who said he could not remember. However, it is understood that Flourentzos could not make the recommendation if it had not been approved by Shiarly.
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said procedures had not been followed.
“There is nothing in the finance ministry archive or that of the cabinet that confirms,” the proper procedure had been followed, Georgiades said.
Former ruling party AKEL accused the government of trying to put the CBC under its control.
Party spokesman Giorgos Loukaides questioned why the government had published the appointment in the Gazette, thus making it official, and why did it only appoint three members to the CBC board recently instead of four – if Kaikitis’ appointment had been void.
Georgiades reiterated that only three new members were appointed pending clarification of the matter.
He also turned the tables round, questioning why Kaikitis had not taken part in any board meetings between his appointment at the end of February, and mid-April when there was still a quorum. Three members resigned on April 12.
Kaikitis appeared at a working lunch held by the CBC governor to greet the new board members.
“I don’t know why they decided to invite him,” Georgiades said. “It is other people who need to give some answers about how they operated, made selections and behaved. Obviously, the procedure was not the appropriate one and it has been terminated.”