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Our View: Christofias has no respect for the law

PERHAPS we should not have been surprised by yesterday’s antics at the investigative committee for the economy by former president Demetris Christofias. He displayed his customary arrogance and autocratic style in demanding that the whole procedure was changed for his sake because, as he said, “I am not just any witness.”

First, he complained about his appearance before that of the former Central Bank Governor Athanasios Orphanides (scheduled to appear today), then he tried to dictate the procedure that would be followed and when he failed to get his way he walked out and called a news conference at which he read out the statement he had prepared for the hearing, before accusing the committee of trying to gag him.

The investigative committee, unwilling to impose any punishment, referred Christofias’ refusal to answer any questions to the Attorney-General for further action. In a statement it issued yesterday afternoon, apart from censuring his behaviour, the panel of three judges said there was an issue regarding Christofias’ refusal to comply with the instructions of the committee, to respond orally to its questions.

It was not the first time he had shown contempt for the law and institutions of the country he was the president of. Two years ago, when the committee investigating the Mari explosion published its findings and conclusion, Christofias, like some totalitarian ruler, declared that he did not accept them. It did not matter that he had appointed the one-man committee, with a brief to find those responsible for the fatal explosion. He rejected the conclusions and encouraged his AKEL henchmen to wage a public war against the man in charge of the committee.

His refusal to answer the questions of the panel yesterday, insisting that he should be allowed to respond to them in writing at a later date, was just another example of this provocative disregard for the country’s laws and institutions. It is quite astonishing that a man with no respect for the law or for the democratic principle of equality before the law was president of the Republic, but this sort of behaviour should not surprise us.

Nor should we be surprised that he presented himself as a victim of persecution, whom the supposedly biased committee was out to get. “I am, in effect, the defendant,” he said, before accusing the committee of “trying to expedite (testimony) from witnesses that this president delayed, did not do his job and that this president is guilty.” In other words, the investigation was a sham and the three judges incapable of doing their job objectively, according to the former president.

We sincerely hope the Attorney General brings charges against Christofias, if only to show him that there is rule of law and that nobody is above it. Perhaps then, he will learn to have some respect for the law.

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