Cyprus Mail

Probe into head of transport department

By George Psyllides

THE GOVERNMENT is planning to launch a disciplinary probe against the head of the transport department in connection with alleged misconduct, the Cyprus Mail has learned.

Sotiris Kolettas had been the focus of weekend reports that alleged he had refused to impose a fine on a bus company because of a special relationship with the outfit.

Daily newspaper Politis published a letter from the communications ministry’s audit depart to the permanent secretary, informing him that Kolettas had refused to fine Intercity Buses – even after he was told to so — despite the company repeatedly violating its contract for two and a half years.

According to the letter, Kolettas wrote to the company on December 9, informing them he would not fine them for violating their legal obligation to carry out only two stops in Limassol on the way to Nicosia.

On March 29, Kolettas wrote to the permanent secretary trying to convince him not to sanction the company but also inquiring about the amount of a potential fine.

The response, on April 2, was that he should fine Intercity Buses €15,000 and €1,000 per day for each day the company continued to violate the contract.

Three days later, Kolettas told the company that he was planning to impose the fine recommended by the permanent secretary. The company appealed to the minister on April 11 asking not to be fined but apparently to no avail.

Quoting the letter, Politis said Kolettas ignored the minister’s instructions, informing the company that no fine would be imposed.

The audit department’s letter said this was not the first time Kolettas handled the company in question in a favourable manner, according to Politis.

The letter said Kolettas appeared to have a special relationship with the chairman of the board, Xenofon Andreotis.

It does not mention what this relationship is, but Politis alleged it concerned the purchase, by Kolettas, of a villa in Paralimni worth €400,000, from a company in which Andreotis was a shareholder.

In a letter to Politis, Kolettas’ lawyer Rikkos Mappourides, who is also a ruling DISY MP, described the reports as slanderous.

Mappourides confirmed however, that Kolettas had bought the house, owned jointly with his wife.

The seller was ABB Enastron developers, which is 50 per cent owned by GYX Enastron Estate Ltd, in which Andreotis has a 33 per cent share.

“Thus, the references in your publication linking Mr. Kolettas to Mr. Andreotis as the seller are not true,” Mappourides said.

He goes on to say that Andreotis was only a minor shareholder in Intercity Buses.

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