Cyprus Mail

Push for transparency on party finances

Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group

A PARLIAMENTARY drive to revise current legislation governing transparency in party finances is to get under way next week.

House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou said that all the parties yesterday committed to work on new legislation that “fully complies” with the recommendation of GRECO, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group.

This could come about in the form of either a government bill or a legislative proposal formulated by the parties, Omirou said.

Greens MP George Perdikis said current allegations involving a dodgy land deal in Dromolaxia – where so far at least one political party has been implicated – made this the right timing for pushing the party transparency issue.

The aim, Perdikis said, was for the law to change in such a way so that external auditors have access to political parties’ “every single last check and invoice.”

The House ethics committee, convening next Wednesday, will get the ball rolling.

The Political Parties Law, as amended in 2012, did not go far enough in meeting the recommendations of GRECO.

A coalition of civil society organizations has been pushing for a string of additions to the current law, including: banning anonymous contributions to parties; all party transactions must go through banks; a legal obligation on parties to publish their accounts; prohibition of donations to parties by state-controlled enterprises (such as semi-governmental organisations); parties must be liable in court like any other legal entity; and deterrent penalties when parties fail to submit their accounts to a public audit, such as fines or a ban from receiving state grants.

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