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Cyprus

State to appeal release of Paphos sewerage suspects

Paphos town hall

The state plans to file an appeal by the end of the week against a court decision to release three suspects arrested on suspicion of corruption in connection with the construction of the Paphos sewerage system

Quoting an unnamed source in the state legal service, the Cyprus News Agency said an appeal will be filed in then next couple of days.

However, the state was not planning to request from the Supreme Court to lift the immunity of two MPs, AKEL’s Andreas Fakontis, and Phidias Sarikas of EDEK, who had been named by former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas – the key suspect — as being involved in the case.

Both have denied any involvement and placed themselves at the disposal of the authorities.

On Sunday, the Paphos district court rejected a police request to remand three suspects arrested in connection with allegations of bribery relating to the construction of the second phase of the town’s sewerage system.

The three suspects, AKEL municipal councilman Giorgos Shailis, Medcon Constructions CEO Andreas Chimarrides and Nemesis Construction managing director Kyriacos Chrysochos, have denied any involvement.

Investigators told the court that Vergas, sewerage board director Eftichios Malekkides, and municipal councillors and contractors had set up a  ring that approved bogus additional construction work for projects, thus raising the cost, to split the profit among themselves.

According to the police, Vergas also admitted to taking bribes from almost all contractors, and a total amount north of €0.5 million from Medcon and Nemesis alone.

He also claimed that Shailis received from Christos Drakopoulos, owner of Envitec – another contractor – €100,000 in exchange for his approval of additional construction work, which he then shared with Vergas.

The ex-mayor also said that Chimarrides and Chrysochos had bribed municipal councilmen through nominal ‘donations’ to the Paphos municipality in exchange for their approval for additional construction work.

The court denied the remand request for Shailis, saying investigators had failed to verify Vergas’ claims – ostensibly through Drakopoulos – even though they had the opportunity to do so. The remand of Chimarrides and Chrysochos was deemed unjustified.

 


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