By Bejay Browne
A PAPHOS municipality worker accused of stealing coins from parking meters has been forced to take leave after the district court refused police requests to issue a remand order for him.
According to Paphos police, the 32-year-old suspect was arrested last Thursday and appeared before court on Friday morning.
“Reports were made to the police regarding suspicions of theft involving the suspect,” a Paphos police spokesman said.
“It has been alleged that he was stealing money from parking meters. As yet, we don’t have an idea of the amount.”
The spokesman added that the judge had refused the request for a remand order against the alleged thief saying that the police could carry out the necessary examinations into the case without the municipality employee being detained.
The spokesman added: “We are checking with witnesses involved in the case and completing our investigation into the allegations. We will then decide if we will proceed with a prosecution. We need some time to complete the process.”
In the meantime, Paphos council held an extraordinary meeting on Sunday evening to discuss the matter and decided to place the municipal employee on eight weeks forced leave. During this time he will receive 50 per cent of his wages.
Internal investigations are already underway according to a municipality spokesman.
“The court decided to reject a police request to detain the employee for six days, but this doesn’t mean that he’s guilty or innocent. Following this, a decision was made by the municipality last night (Sunday), that the employee in question must be off work for eight weeks- starting from today, to exclude any possibilities,” the municipality spokesman said.
He added that the municipality had passed on data to police concerning the alleged embezzlement but could not give any clue to the sum over which the discrepancy arose.
“From our side, we believe that certain actions have led to strong indications that there have been illegal interventions into the parking meters,” he said.