Cyprus Mail

Land bought by CyTA ‘was ideal’

By George Psyllides

THE LAND currently at the centre of a probe was ideal, due to its position and size, to serve the purpose telecoms company CyTA bought it for, the head of a review board said yesterday.

The government ordered the probe after allegations of corruption and bribery among political figures and senior CyTA officials over the transfer of the land.

Lakis Pettemerides, chairman of the derogations council, told investigators that the land in Dromolaxia, near Larnaca airport, “was ideal both because of its location and its size for such a development.”

The council had approved changing the building coefficients for the land to allow the construction of office space.

The land was bought from its Turkish Cypriot owner by the Greek Cypriot company Wadnic Trading Ltd for €1,273,770, whereas the land registry – for the purposes of calculating the transfer fees – placed the value at €2,970,000.

After buying the land for less than half its market value, Wadnic sold it on to the CyTA pension fund in 2011, for a sum believed to be €22m.

Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos had said that the procedures were done at the “speed of light.”

Allegations have since been made of millions given in bribes to unions, a political party, an MP and a leading CyTA official, while the Central Intelligence Service (KYP) has also been drawn into the debate, with allegations that it issued two conflicting reports on whether the Turkish Cypriot owner was resident in the government-controlled areas long enough to have the right to sell the land.

Pettemerides said the council took into account the positive views of all the authorities and departments, including the community, “which had adequately substantiated their views.”

“The land is close to the airport, it covers a large area, had easy access to the airport and it would be related with administrative services, perhaps of an international scope,” Pettemerides said.

The council also took into account the fact that the development would benefit the area as well as the country and the economy at a time of economic crisis, he said.

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