By George Psyllides
Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos rejected opposition accusations yesterday that he was hiding data concerning Turkish Cypriot property transactions, putting the ministry’s files at the disposal of anyone who wanted to examine them.
The minister said any discrepancies were due to the fact that not all data was kept on an electronic database.
AKEL member and former interior minister Neoclis Sylikiotis accused Hasikos of failure to disclose all the details requested by his party that concerned the sale of Turkish Cypriot properties between 1993 and the present.
Sylikiotis, whose party has been implicated in a dodgy land deal in Larnaca, said most of the buyers’ details relating to transactions between 1994 and 2004 were missing.
The current ruling party, DISY, had been in power between 1993 and 2003.
Only the details of 20 out of 140 sales that took place between 1994 and 2004 were provided, Sylikiotis said.
“The data that was submitted proves the fact that a large number of transactions that took place without transparency were between 1994 and 2004,” Sylikiotis said.
Hasikos rejected the suggestion that he was withholding information.
“Full statistical details were given in our response for the period between 1974 and December 31, 2013,” he said.
They included the exact number of cases and area sold and transferred in every district. Detailed information was also given for transactions between 1994 and 2010, including value per case.
Details were also given for the period between July 1, 1999 onwards, the minister said, adding however that this was where the discrepancy arose.
It was due to the fact that full electronic records only started being kept since July 7, 1999 “something that Sylikiotis should have known since he had served as interior minister,” Hasikos said.
Sylikiotis was interior minister between September 2006 and July 2007, during the Tassos Papadopoulos administration, and the five years of the Demetris Christofias administration, 2008 to 2012.
Hasikos said files must be searched manually to record all the transactions requested by AKEL.
“You realise it concerns a period of many years,” he said, adding that the data that was easy to access at that moment had been handed over.
“If he wants however, Mr. Sylikiotis, or anyone else, can come and do a search,” Hasikos said. “I allow them.”
He called on AKEL to submit any evidence the party thought it had regarding potential illegal acts “and they should rest assured they will be investigated.”
Two AKEL members were among several others, have recently been charged in connection with a suspicious land deal involving the state telecom company CyTA’s pension fund that took place when Christofias was in office.