INTERIOR minister Socrates Hasikos yesterday asked for a major shakeup among civil servants assigned to administrating Turkish Cypriot properties in the government-controlled areas.
Hasikos, who as interior minister is also the Guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties, has given government services and district administrations a week to come up with concrete proposals for ‘large-scale’ transfers of personnel.
Earlier this month, Hasikos had spoken of corrupt practices at the Guardianship, noting that some of the staff there had held their job for too long, something which created “relationships, bonds and dependencies.”
The personnel transfers are part of a broader drive to reform the running of the Guardian. Hasikos has said the system is riddled with irregularities including dodgy deals, cases where non-refugees were living on Turkish Cypriot property, and subletting of the properties by others.
A clean-up at the Guardian would also include evicting those who had fallen behind in rent (some €4m is currently outstanding in unpaid rent), a review of older rents in terms of today’s property prices, and a halt on state-paid repairs except in exceptional circumstances.
Greek Cypriot leaseholders of Turkish Cypriot land pay a monthly rent.
A fairer redistribution of Turkish-Cypriot plots to refugees is also on the cards, after it was discovered that there are Greek Cypriot refugees who owned a lot of property in the north but received no Turkish Cypriot land in the south.
The Guardian allots land (including agricultural plots) based on a refugee’s family income, size of family and the amount of land owned in the north.
Priority on agricultural land plots is to be given to those who intend to pursue farming and husbandry.