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Cyprus

Probe into waste processing contract for Koshi

AN investigating officer has been appointed to look into the contract signed between the previous government and a contractor for the creation of a waste disposal unit in Koshi, said Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos yesterday.

The minister hinted that the contract signed was extremely favourable to the private contractor, resulting in high garbage fees for local residents.

Hasikos yesterday met with the municipal and community leaders of Larnaca and Famagusta to discuss the high garbage fees residents are made to pay as a result of the operation of the waste disposal unit at Koshi.

The minister said their reaction was justified, which was why the deal with the contractor was being renegotiated with the ministry’s full support.

As a result, waste disposal fees have already been reduced by around a third, he said, adding that further reductions could be seen once the ongoing investigation wraps up.

However, more than half the €24 fee reduction was effectively subsidised by the government, which put up an extra €10.5 million to ensure the price dropped.

Hasikos said the investigation into the agreement signed by the previous government is expected to finish in September, after which, the contract with the administrators of the Koshis unit will be renegotiated again.

“The mere fact that the contractor has agreed to reduce the fees, through negotiations we had with the management committee, is indicative of the fact that the margins exist, that he was gaining plenty,” he said.

Regarding the EU-imposed fine that the state will have to pay for the continued use of two landfills in Kotsiatis and Vati, Hasikos said: “We pay for our mistakes. It is a classic case of mismanagement of waste. Landfills cannot continue to operate and it was expected that Cyprus would have to pay this fine.”

He pointed the finger at the previous government for failing to abide by the relevant EU directive, noting that Cyprus could end up paying €10,000-€11,000 a day in fines.

The fine will likely work retroactively, meaning it will apply from the day Cyprus was supposed to have removed all landfills from the country, as specified in the relevant EU directive.

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