Cyprus Mail

Kittis will have to appear a third time before panel

By Peter Stevenson

CYPRUS Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) chairman Stathis Kittis will be called to testify for a third time before a panel investigating the purchase of land by CyTA’s pension fund in Dromolaxia in 2011 after he felt tired yesterday following four hours of testimony.

The land in question is next to Larnaca airport and was purchased in 2007 from its Turkish Cypriot owner by the Greek Cypriot company Wadnic Trading Ltd for €1,273,770. In calculating the transfer fees the land registry had placed the value at €2,970,000.

Wadnic Trading Ltd allegedly changed the terms of use, upgraded the coefficients, built on it and sold it on to the CyTA pension fund in 2011 at several times the price they bought it from the Turkish Cypriot original owner.

Allegations have been made that millions were given to unions, a political party, an MP and a CyTA official to help seal the deal.

Kittis who is head of the pension fund management committee was being quizzed for the second time this week about the role he played in the deal. He was joined by Petros Hadjiantoniou, secretary and administrative director of CyTA and secretary of the pension fund management committee.

Kittis and Hadjiantoniou submitted photocopies of documents they had been asked to provide the originals of as well as filing incomplete documents of exerts from committee meetings.

Head of the panel, Eleonora Nicolaidou told both men that despite being asked to bring all of the relevant documentation regarding the case, the panel had noticed that many of the documents were incomplete and even ‘falsified’ in certain circumstances.

Kittis apologised on numerous occasions and told the members of the panel that neither he nor Hadjiantoniou had purposefully tried to mislead them. Nicolaidou was not satisfied with the CyTA chairman’s apologies and requested that Hadjiantoniou return to the telecommunication’s headquarters to bring the complete files the panel had asked for with original documents.

Kittis was asked the same questions repeatedly about the process with which the land had been purchased from the Turkish Cypriot man. He was also asked why the board had not listened to CyTA’s investment consultants AON Hewitt’s advise in investing the pension fund’s money abroad.

The CyTA chairman told Nicolaidou that he believed investing a large amount of the fund abroad would be like committing an act of ‘treason’. He also admitted that despite paying the consultants a large amount of money for their advice, their suggestions were overlooked on occasion.

Nicolaidou stated that as head of the pension fund management committee, Kittis should have been better informed about all the matters regarding the land deal, and especially because he knew he was going to have to answer the panel’s questions.

Kittis’ answer, as it was too many of the other questions he had been asked during his four hours in front of the panel, was that there was a large amount of paperwork related to the case and he could not be expected to know every single detail.

Nicolaidou stated that she had hoped Kittis’ testimony would not drag on after Friday but Kittis told the panel he was feeling tired and wanted to look over older documents to clarify certain matters.

The CyTA chairman’s request was granted and his testimony will continue on Monday at 8am.

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