Cyprus Mail

Paphos municipal employee linked to criminal cases sacked

Former mayor of Paphos Savvas Vergas is serving six years in prison

By Angelos Anastasiou
The Paphos municipal council decided on Tuesday to terminate the employment of employee Maria Solomonidou, who is under police scrutiny for her role in two criminal cases.
Solomonidou was suspended from her post on October 21 after she was implicated in two separate police investigations.
Investigations into threatening text messages sent to municipal councilmen and a journalist in connection with a case of suspected land-demarcation fraud in Paphos revealed that Solomonidou was the owner of the phone from which the texts were sent.
She has also been implicated in the case of a concert organised in Paphos last summer featuring Greek pop singer Sakis Rouvas, which was allegedly misleadingly advertised as a charity event.
Paphos councilman Themis Filippides told the Cyprus News Agency that her dismissal was officially not related to her alleged misconduct, but based on grounds of redundancy.
“Terminating her employment was based on the fact that her services are not required to the Municipality’s cultural services, given the services’ staffing and in light of the limiting of its activities as a result of the ongoing financial crisis,” he said.
Filippides said that Solomonidou’s four-week warning period ahead of termination commences on Wednesday, but she has been instructed not to work during this time.
“On the basis of this arrangement, she will be paid accordingly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Interior minister Sokratis Hasikos said on Tuesday he will go to Paphos to meet with the Municipal Council, as well as the Paphos Sewerage Board, in the coming days.
A probe by Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides into the workings of the sewerage board – chaired by Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas – revealed several suspected cases of mismanagement of public funds.
“I will meet with them so that I can have direct and personal knowledge of the situation as it relates to these two bodies,” said Hasikos.
“I want to send a message – that the government is monitoring the issue closely and receives continuous updates,” he said.
Hasikos said the government is gravely concerned both for Paphos’ local administration and the Paphos 2017 project. Paphos has been designated European Cultural Capital for the year 2017, during which it plans to organise a series of high-profile Europe-themed cultural events.
“Nonetheless, and despite everything that has happened and continues to unfold in Paphos, we will not allow administrative breakdowns,” Hasikos said.
“There is the Constitution, there are laws, and there are courts, which will have the final say,” he added.
Hasikos’ warning came a day after indicted – and suspended – Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas announced he will not be stepping down until all police investigations have been concluded and court rulings have been issued.
The announcement prompted yet another barrage of statements from political parties – including DIKO, of which Vergas is a member, but with the notable exception of ruling DISY – reiterating their calls for his resignation, as they had last week.

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