Cyprus Mail

Polyviou lets loose on Christofias

Lawyer Polis Polyviou

By Stefanos Evripidou

FORMER PRESIDENT Demetris Christofias is clearly guilty for the Mari explosion which caused the death of 13 people, and should be prosecuted for it, said the author of the lengthy report into the 2011 naval base disaster.

Speaking on Radio Proto yesterday, Polys Polyviou unleashed a barrage of criticism against the former president, his associates and his party following the broadcast of a televised interview of Christofias on Sigma TV’s ’60 Minutes’ show on Wednesday evening.

Polyviou, who was appointed by Christofias to carry out an independent investigation into the Mari explosion, seemed livid with the former president during yesterday’s morning radio show, accusing Christofias of lying and his associates of trying to influence him during the Mari investigation.

“Mr Christofias is guilty, I say it clearly. Enough lies and evasions. Mr Christofias should have been tried and I believe at the end of the day, Christofias will face justice,” said Polyviou, calling on new Attorney-general and his deputy to re-examine the matter.

During the Sigma interview, Christofias was asked why he refused to accept Polyviou’s report on Mari, which apportioned personal responsibility to the president, or the Pikis report on the near collapse of the economy.

Christofias argued neither report was objective. “When they are not objective, what shall I say? Well done guys.”

On Mari, Christofias claimed Polyviou had assured his associates even before announcing the findings of the report at a press conference that there was nothing in the 600-page document to concern him.

“Delivering the report, he told me that he was going to have a low key press conference. And he went out and did the press conference that we all know about. We counted, he said 60 times that the president is to blame,” said Christofias.

The former president said it was “unethical and unacceptable” that the photographs of the 13 dead were laid out for him when he went to the Polyviou committee to testify.

Asked if it was a mistake to appoint Polyviou, he responded that it was a mistake to appoint a one-member committee, adding that he should have appointed foreign experts too.

Christofias said he heard one foreign expert say that it was impossible to have an explosion at 4am in the summer in Cyprus. “I should have brought some experts to carry out an investigation.”

Asked if he had personally apologised to the relatives, Christofias said he apologised publicly as the head of state, but everybody’s ears were shut.

Responding yesterday in a radio interview, Polyviou seemed furious with Christofias’ comments, describing them as “fantasy”.

“Once the findings were issued, an effort was started to taint my name by (former first lady) Mrs Elsi Christofias and (former government spokesman) Stefanos Stefanou and some others, saying that I had gone beyond my mandate, that I had an agenda, ulterior motives and other such nonsense.”

He accused Christofias of “throwing all his young Bolsheviks at me”, also referring to the former president’s undersecretary at the time Christos Christofides.

Polyviou claimed that Christofides had asked for a meeting with him before the report came out, trying to influence him by saying that the president was concerned about his findings.

“They are Bolsheviks because they do not believe in truth. They believe in the party,” said the lawyer.

“This (effort) was so absurd it was abandoned. Now, after a period of guilty silence, a new effort has begun saying that I supposedly kissed Christofias on both cheeks, told him not to worry… these are fantasies,” he said.

“It is sad that the former president has fallen to this miserable level. The only good thing is that he has dragged AKEL with him and for that the people should be grateful.”

Polyviou repeated the view that through his policies and actions Christofias was responsible for the Mari explosion.

“Thirteen people were unjustly killed. It’s almost murder. Mr Christofias knew everything. There is testimony on each and every matter.”

The former investigator slammed Christofias for defying the EU and UN by “submitting to a ruthless dictator,” Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and trying to find ways to deliver the munitions, which ended up exploding in Mari, to Syria.

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