By George Psyllides
POLICE on Wednesday continued their investigation into alleged irregularities in a music concert held in August in Paphos involving mayor Savvas Vergas and his close associate.
On Tuesday, a court refused a police request to remand Vergas in custody for eight days, saying investigators had failed to prove their case.
Vergas, close associate Maria Solomonidou, and her husband Constantinos Sifantos, were arrested on Monday following claims that an events company belonging to Sifantos got a tax break on condition of donating part of the proceeds from a Sakis Rouvas concert to charity.
The mayor went straight to the town hall where the municipal council was scheduled to discuss whether Solomonidou should be suspended.
None of the councillors present questioned the mayor’s presence in a meeting that was meant to discuss suspending the woman implicated in the same case he was.
Deputy mayor Makis Roussis conceded that none of the councillors — from all political parties – had raised the matter.
Pressed on the matter, Roussis told the state broadcaster that from the moment there had not been a conviction by a court, the mayor, any mayor, could continue to preside over the meetings.
Before his arrest on Monday, the mayor had spent four days in custody in connection with abusing text messages threatening witnesses in a suspicious land zoning case involving prominent developer Theodoros Aristodemou.
Solomonidou was also implicated in that case.
Vergas was arrested after admitting buying the mobile phone used to send the messages to four people including himself and two witnesses in the case.
He said he had bought the phone for Solomonidou.
Threatening messages were also sent to a journalist covering the case.
Phone records showed that Vergas was in the same location as Solomonidou when the messages were sent late in September.
He had told police he was in the town hall when he received his.
Meanwhile, investigations also got underway on Wednesday into the possible squandering of public money in contracts for the town’s Sewage Board, of which Vergas is chairman.
According to CyBC radio, even though the Paphos Sewage Board was to pay €78m for the second phase of the project, they ended up paying €109m and that the five contractors of the project demanded a further €25m after their work was done.
The case came to light after members of the board made specific reports to the Auditor general, who in turn sent the information to the Attorney General’s office that ordered the investigations.