By Angelos Anastasiou
MARIA Solomonidou, the suspended Paphos municipal employee who is accused of conspiring with mayor Savvas Vergas to influence witnesses in a police investigation involving suspected land-zoning fraud, yesterday accused councilman Vasos Demetriou of appropriating funds from the municipality and the local sports club Paphiakos.
In a letter to the Auditor General and the Attorney General, Solomonidou claimed the councilman defrauded the municipal council into approving €35,000 in connection with a concert featuring Greek pop singer Despina Vandi over the summer, with proceeds going to the sports club — €10,000 before the concert and €25,000 after it made a loss.
Additionally, she said, Demetriou had secured an entertainment tax exemption for the concert, but no ticket sales documentation was ever furnished to the municipality.
Further, she claimed Demetriou’s posts on the municipality’s Land Zoning committee and the Paphos Sewerage Board – the activities of which are also under police scrutiny – have earned him “contributions from various businessmen who applied for building permits, for which no receipts were issued.”
Solomonidou said Demetriou managed the Paphiakos sports club to his personal gain, and made claims relating to the issuance of illegal lottery tickets and prearranged lottery draws.
Lastly, she claimed that the councilman fraudulently won two cars from a specific car dealership, which he traded to acquire his current vehicle.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, Demetriou said he has served the Paphiakos sports club for 21 years, and his contribution is well-known by everyone.
“Her claims are hardly surprising to me,” he said. “She is probably unaware of my contribution to the club.”
With regard to the Vandi concert, Demetriou confirmed it had made a loss, but that it was Paphiakos that made a claim for additional funding of €23,000 – unanimously approved by the municipal council – not himself.
“One of the reasons it made a loss was that, on the recommendation of the mayor, the Sakis Rouvas concert was scheduled one week after Vandi’s,” said Demetriou.
He was referring to another concert organised by the municipality over the summer, featuring Greek pop singer Rouvas, advertised as a charity event as profits would go towards the city’s soup kitchens.
But subsequent investigation revealed that no money made its way to any charitable institution, and police requested the remand of Vergas, Solomonidou and her husband in connection with suspected fraud.
Demetriou claimed he was personally sued by the company that organised the Vandi concert and was forced to cover the €20,000 cost himself.
“I was the reason for the revelations in the scandals involving Solomonidou, her husband and the mayor of Paphos – that is why I’ve been expecting this attack,” he added.
He dismissed Solomonidou’s charges of mismanaging Paphiakos for his personal gain, illegally issuing lottery tickets and prearranging lottery draws as outright lies.