Cyprus Mail

‘Police told me not to criticise Paphos mayor’

By Bejay Browne

THE Paphos police chief is refusing to comment on an allegation made by a local councillor- that he called him to his office and told him to back off from criticising the mayor.

Paphos councillor Phedonas Phedonos, 35, a member of ruling DISY, claims that he had been summoned to the office of Paphos Police Chief Nicos Sophocleous at 10am on Tuesday morning where he says he was ‘advised by the chief of police to tone down his political confrontations with Paphos Mayor Savvas Vergas, a member of coalition partners DIKO.

Phedonos told the Cyprus Mail: “I couldn’t believe what has happened. I have made a complaint to the chief of Cyprus police Michalis Papageorgiou who is investigating the incident. He has already spoken with the justice minister and I expect to hear from them in the next couple of days with their findings.”

Phedonos says he initially had no idea why he was called to Paphos police headquarters.

“When I arrived I was greeted in the usual way and asked if I would like a drink, I was then told that Mr Sophocleous wanted to see me.”

The local councillor says that the police chief said he had two issues to discuss and said he would attend a council meeting and allegedly wanted Phedonos to “slow down” on his criticism of the mayor.”

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Phedonos. “I told him you are a policeman and not a politician. Why would you come to a council meeting? We are a democracy and a European country. I said this was not his job.”

According to Phedonos, the police chief told him that the mayor had called him saying he had a problem during some council meetings as some of the councillors speak very loudly and interrupt and don’t let the mayor speak.

“This is not police work. Ok if we are fighting, call the police to arrest us. Otherwise its politics and I will always speak up for what I believe,” said Phedonos.

The allegations were denied by Vergas, who said the councillor was not being honest. “Mr Phedonos wants to make a big noise in the media and he is saying a lot of lies. It’s like watching a TV series,” he said.

But Phedonos challenged the mayor about the police incident at beginning of the council meeting on Tuesday evening. “I asked the mayor and he said he didn’t call the police and didn’t say anything. But on local radio this morning he said that he did call him,” Phedonos added.

The mayor wouldn’t be drawn further on the matter, only saying: “This is all too much. The people don’t need this nonsense at the moment. All I want to say is that last night we had a very productive council meeting which lasted four hours and we made some necessary and good decisions concerning problems facing Paphos.”

Sophocleous declined to comment on the alleged incident, saying: “I cannot comment on this matter.”

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