By Constantinos Psillides
SOCIALIST EDEK leader Yiannakis Omirou has refuted allegations that his party received €20,000 in kick-backs related to the Paphos Sewerage Board scandal.
Omirou responded in a written statement to allegations by a witness in the case, who told police that the socialist party received money from a local businessman to facilitate the process of awarding a lucrative contract for the town’s sewerage system. The case resulted in a criminal investigation and the arrest of the town’s mayor Savvas Vergas, who also chairs the board, the board’s manager Eftihios Malekides and former board member and municipal councillor Giorgos Michaelides from the ruling DISY party.
“We have never received any contribution for a quid pro quo, our integrity is not for sale,” Omirou stressed in his response, claiming that the amount received was a contribution to the party and not a kick-back. The leader of EDEK further added that the person who donated the money regularly contributes to the party’s local fundraisers.
EDEK also published a copy of a receipt for the €20,000, to prove that their dealings were above board.
“All party contributions are registered in our financial statements and have nothing to do with the Sewerage Board case,” maintained Omirou, adding that his party is at the disposal of both the Attorney General and the Auditor General.
Party spokesman Kostis Efstathiou said that if any EDEK member had a connection to this or any other scandal, they would be kicked out of the party.
“That goes without saying,” he said, adding that the specific donation was made six months before the tender was awarded.
Efstathiou noted that EDEK had been receiving contributions from the benevolent businessman since 2008, all of which were registered in the party books and available for scrutiny. The party spokesman also pointed out that EDEK has been submitting its financial statements to the office of the Political Parties Commissioner since 2012.
EDEK spokesman also told the press that the party’s Paphos municipal councillors’ bank accounts and assets are available to investigators.