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Our View: Politicians in glass houses

Former House Presidents receive a monthly allowance for secretarial services of €3.019 amongst other benefits

Our public spirited politicians have always been at the forefront of the lawful plundering of the state. This was why for decades they happily approved even the most unreasonable pay demands by the public sector unions that eventually bankrupted the state. Never did they say a word against the extortionate annual pay rises, because they were also engaged in the maximising of their personal income from state coffers.

We may have written about this issue on countless occasions in the past, but we will carry on doing so in the vain hope that the looting of the state might be stopped. This is not looking very likely, even now that the state is bankrupt and depending on foreign assistance to meet its financial obligations. Deputies, for instance, have arranged that they do not pay income tax on half their monthly gross income of €6,661, by defining it as ‘expense’ allowances. But these allowances are incorporated in the calculation of their extortionate state pension and retirement bonus.

Included in their allowances is a monthly stipend of €1,025 for secretarial services, regardless of whether they use such services or not. This is quite clearly a lawful scam, aimed at paying less tax while also boosting pensions; the monthly expense for secretarial services goes into the calculation of their pension. In other words, they are paid a pension based on someone else’s earnings, assuming the allowance was actually spent on secretarial services. We suspect it is not, which would mean our lawmakers were taking money from the state under false pretences.

An even bigger, lawful theft is perpetrated on behalf of former presidents and former presidents of the House, who apart from their big, fat pension and chauffeur-driven limo, receive a monthly allowance for secretarial services of €3.019. We doubt any of them need secretarial services, and if they did, why should the taxpayer, who is paying them a very generous pension, pick up the bill? The reality is that they simply wanted to boost their monthly pension and thought up the secretarial services – again a case of receiving money under false pretences.

Interestingly, one Diko deputy, Marios Garoyian, having served as a House president, has reportedly been receiving both allowances for secretarial services, totalling €4,044 in addition to the chauffeur-driven limo he will have at his disposal for as long as he is alive. This absurd business of treating former House presidents who, constitutionally, have nothing more than a ceremonial role, must stop.

Has Dr Lyssarides been spending €3,000 on secretarial services every month since 1991 when he stepped down as House president? Or has Garoyian spent even a tiny fraction of the €28,000 we have paid him since he stepped down last May?

This lawful theft of the state must stop. The secretarial services needed by deputies could be performed by the full-time personal aide each one has. As for former presidents, they receive a big enough state pension to pay for these services out of their own pocket.

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