Cyprus Mail

Sports officials claimed cash back for deodorants and fancy meals

Deodorants and meals at fancy restaurants were among the items charged by officials to their expense accounts who then had the Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA) reimburse them, it has emerged.

KOA is currently conducting a sweeping in-house investigation into money wasting, sparked by revelations made by KOA’s auditor Christos Orfanides.

Orfanides has revealed that officials at sports federations receiving grants from KOA let the latter pay for such things as shaving blades, cash for wedding gifts, restaurant bills, nights out, everyday shopping items and even deodorants.

Orfanides told the state broadcaster that several instances have been established where public monies were misused. KOA, a publicly-funded organisation, has many individual sports federations under its umbrella.

KOA has meanwhile announced that, until its financial investigation is concluded, it will freeze representation allowances to several federations, including judo, tae kwon do, basketball and the Cyprus Amateur Athletic Association.

Orfanides clarified that the suspicions do not concern the athletes.

Investigations so far have turned up “unacceptable things,” he said, pledging that no irregularity would be swept under the rug.

“Gaps have been traced which lead to a reasonable suspicion that some people were pocketing the money,” Orfanides said.
KOA is also in contact with the auditor-general, he added.

Suspicions of financial irregularities began from the Cyprus Athletic Paraplegic Federation; following complaints of misuse of funds there, a file was forwarded to the attorney-general’s office. The irregularities concern the 2010 to 2012 period.

The Cyprus Paraplegic Organisation has stated that it has no connection to the federation, adding that over the last decade they have received no grants from KOA.

Dodgy goings-on at KOA are the latest in a string of allegations of financial irregularities at public organisations, such as the Paphos sewerage board and municipalities.

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