By George Psyllides
Embattled Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas said on Thursday he was suspending his participation in municipal affairs until November 10, pending a police investigation into allegations of misconduct.
Vergas said his decision was part of the effort to help the investigation and deny anyone the opportunity to cast shadows about a possible intervention.
He did not offer any comment on the essence of the allegations that saw him remanded in custody for four days last week, but claimed some people were out to get him.
“But also so as not to affect the municipality in any way, I decided to suspend my participation in the operational and administrative procedure,” Vergas said in a written statement.
However, Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos had written to Vergas suggesting it would be better if he withdrew until the cases were fully investigated.
“This way will better safeguard the principle of impartiality and the smooth operation of the municipal council,” Hasikos said.
The mayor said he will be absent until November 10 and did not rule out extending the suspension if necessary.
During this time he will not be receiving a salary. The money, he said, can be used as the council saw fit.
Vergas said his involvement in public affairs only aimed at taking Paphos out of the obscurity and turning the district into a pioneer.
“For purely procedural and legal reasons, with this public statement I did not want to get into the essence of the cases, where it is obvious that certain people want to implicate me,” Vergas said.
Vergas has been implicated in the dispatch of threatening text messages to witnesses in suspicious land zoning case involving prominent developer Theodoros Aristodemou.
He is also under investigation in connection with a concert organised by an events company linked with a close associate, Maria Solomonidou, who also works for the municipality.
The municipality had waived the entertainment tax on condition that the company made a donation to the town’s food bank, which failed to materialise.
The records regarding the concert have since gone missing from the municipality’s cultural department, where Solomonidou worked.