By George Psyllides
THE Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal against the arrest of two members of former ruling party AKEL, detained in connection with a graft investigation.
Venizelos Zanettos and Christos Alecou, were arrested as part of an investigation into a €20.5 million land deal involving the pension fund of state telecommunications company CyTA.
AKEL was enraged over the arrests, which it claimed were politically motivated.
Party leader Andros Kyprianou said he has proof of a political stitch-up and that he would submit it if his comrades end up in court.
Along with Zanettos and Alecou, police also detained businessman Antonis Ioakim.
The three were remanded in custody for eights days last week but were released on Thursday without being charged, before the Supreme Court issued its decision.
They could be charged at a later date if police gather enough evidence.
The court said the evidence submitted by the police during the remand hearing linked the three with the offences under investigation.
They had been named by businessman Nicos Lillis who has already been charged in connection with the case.
“The material the police put before the (district) court was not general and vague as the appellants’ lawyers suggested,” the Supreme Court said. “In our view, the court correctly judged that the evidence before it raised reasonable suspicion of involvement in the offences under investigation.”
The land deal concerned office space near Larnaca airport at a price reportedly several times the going market value.
Allegations have surfaced that millions were paid in kickbacks to make the deal possible.
Police have also detained CyTA chairman Stathis Kittis and three other individuals – two CyTA employees and a land registry worker – in connection with the case.
They have since been released without charge.
Authorities however, have charged Lillis and two police officers, Costas Miamiliotis and Lefteris Mouskou.
The officers were allegedly bribed to produce a false report saying the Turkish Cypriot who owed the land and sold it to Lillis for some €1.6 million, had resided in the government-controlled areas for six months – a necessary condition before the transaction could go ahead.