The state owes over half a billion euros to people whose properties have been appropriated, the House Watchdog Committee heard yesterday.
Committee chairman, DISY MP Giorgos Georgiou, said the state paid around €80 million per year in appropriations with interest on its dues reaching €54 million.
And fresh appropriations add to the amount every year, raising the question whether the state can pay off this debt, Georgiou said.
“You realise these amounts increase progressively every year,” he told reporters.
The matter came up during a discussion on the need to check procedures of designating private properties as historic monuments.
Georgiou said the legislation must change but the state must also implement laws properly.
The law on antiquities, passed in 1936, gives the head of the antiquities department excessive powers, which remained unchanged since.
Georgiou said the committee will raise the issue with the government to modernise legislation to defend the right to property but without taking away the state’s ability to protect antiquities.
AKEL MP Pambos Papageorgiou spoke of a story of bureaucratic madness, referring to a case in Erimi, Limassol, where one government department included properties in a town-planning zone, while they were appropriated by another.
“We got a taste of what it means to experience a story of bureaucratic madness. These people are held hostage in red tape madness,” Papageorgiou said.