Cyprus Mail

Ministers rubbish claims of clash over waste disposal

The Koshi waste plant

By Constantinos Psillides

INTERIOR Minister Socratis Hasikos and Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis dismissed reports yesterday saying they clashed over the Limassol waste disposal facility.

Reports said the two minsters disagreed on the tender process. Kouyialis was reportedly asking for the whole tender to be scrapped, arguing that there was not time to secure EU funding. For the project to receive the funding, it must be completed on December 2015 the latest, which is impossible since according to Kouyialis the project is at least a year and a half away from completion.

Hasikos on the other hand reportedly demanded that the tender be awarded to the lowest bidder and the project to start immediately since it was in the best interests of the taxpayer.

“There is absolutely no truth in the report. Mr Hasikos and I worked closely together on the project, there is no friction between us and our cooperation up to now has been seamless. I really don’t know on what this report was based on,” Kouyialis told CyBC.

Hasikos also refuted the reports, going as far as accusing the media of “missing the point” of the whole endeavour.

“Here we are, inviting a tender that will result in taxpayer savings of tens of millions and all we talk about is the alleged fight between ministers,” he said.

“Nine companies took part in the tender process, with the lowest offer being €73m, which in practice means that the waste disposal facility costs Limassol residents €19 each while the facility in Koshi costs Larnaca and Famagusta residents €80 each. Tens of millions are wasted in Koshi. Instead of focusing on that we are discussing fights among ministers. That’s idiotic,” said the interior minister, wondering whether the story was meant to divert attention from the ‘Koshi scandal’.

On September 2013, Hasikos said that a probe discovered irregularities in the contract signed by the previous administration with the waste disposal facility owners in Koshi.

He delivered the report to the office of the Attorney-general, telling the press that the report concluded the issue needed a investigation for criminal culpability.

When he ordered the probe back in July, Hasikos had suggested that the contract signed was extremely favourable to the private contractor, resulting in high garbage fees for local residents.

Regarding the Limassol waste facility, Hasikos confirmed reports about an entrepreneur who has proposed to take over the project using experimental technology that promised no cost for the government. Hasikos is planning to meet the man, he said.

“If he is convincing enough and give us proper guarantees then of course I’m scrapping the tender the process and awarding the project to him. But I can’t do that before I hear his offer,” he said.

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