By Constantinos Psillides
THE government is putting an end to the confiscation of its cars by angry creditors, by passing a law amendment forbidding the courts to issue seizure orders for any property that is “of vital importance to state operations”.
The law amendment specifically mentions state limos, items of artistic, cultural and historical value as well as state monetary deposits.
The House deemed the law amendment as important following the public humiliation of Attorney-general Costas Clerides, whose state limo was towed away by bailiffs on March 26.
“Court bailiffs act as they see fit, but this is a disgrace to the state, its departments and institutions,” Clerides said following the seizure of his car.
Clerides’ car was seized from the reserved parking space in front of the Republic’s law offices in Nicosia on the strength of a court order that ruled in favour of a private citizen whose land, around 10,000 square metres, had been initially expropriated – but never paid for – by the government, which then decided it didn’t need the land and revoked the expropriation.
The land had been destined to be used for a new primary school.
In February 2013, then minister of Interior Neoclis Sylikiotis saw his limo seized as a result of the same court case, ending in a shouting match with the bailiffs who were eventually denied access to the car when it was whisked to a basement parking area under the ministry of finance.
The state saw fit to also include items of cultural importance to the list of things not allowed to be confiscated, since the AG said that the bailiffs had already tried to seize paintings from a state-owned gallery. “I would chop their hands off before they could lay a finger on the paintings,” Clerides had said in an interview with CyBC at the time.