Cyprus Mail

Sizopoulos calls for disciplinary hearing into pharmaceuticals chief

EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos

By Constantinos Psillides

EDEK MP Marinos Sizopoulos yesterday blasted the legal services and former attorney general Petros Clerides, over the reinstatement of the head of the Pharmaceuticals Services Louis Panagi.

Panagi had spent seven years going through the courts battling accusations of abuse of power. He was acquitted of all charges and reinstated but was he was never the subject of any disciplinary hearings, Sizopoulos said.

“The reappointment is a setback for the government, which promised transparency and a cure for our ailing public sector,” said Sizopoulos in a statement released by EDEK.

“We are asking the legal services and the health minister to tell us why this person wasn’t the subject of a disciplinary hearing, who had the responsibility to order such a hearing and why were the main accusations against him dropped,” he added.

The statement references the Auditor General’s 2004 report where the Panagi was accused of adding €7.2 million to the department’s budget without authorisation. In its statement, EDEK also accuses him of withdrawing 1,111 cheap medicines from the market in 2003, something that according to EDEK led to a 123.8 per cent increase in medicine prices.

Sizopoulos additionally accused the department’s head of retaliatory decisions against those public workers who testified at his trial. In his statement, the EDEK MP claims that over the course of four days, 23 employees in total had been reassigned.
The accusations were addressed by Panagi’s lawyer, Christos Triantafyllides.

Triantafyllides told the CyBC news show ‘Apo Mera se Mera’ that his client was suspended for seven years from service and that he had won all cases brought against him apart from two that never made it to court due to lack of witnesses and evidence.

Triantafyllides said that when it came to discussing the unauthorised €7.2 million in the department’s budget, the House in a later session concluded that it was a justified expense.

“As far as the disciplinary hearings go, by law anyone who is acquitted in a criminal case cannot be the subject of a disciplinary hearing for the same reason. This is the only reason there weren’t any hearings,” Triantafyllides noted.

Responding, Sizopoulos said he was merely raising some questions. “If a disciplinary hearing shows that there is no fault, then we will have no problem. We demand explanations from the attorney-general’s office as to why the main charges were dropped and why there weren’t any hearings”, the EDEK MP concluded.

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