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Cyprus

Sarikas does U-turn on immunity waiver

After asking the attorney-general to lift his parliamentary immunity to prove his innocence of allegations levelled at him in the Paphos Sewerage Board scandal, lawyers for EDEK MP Fidias Sarikas told the Supreme Court on Thursday there was not enough evidence to justify the move.
Sarikas sent an official request to the attorney-general in December asking him to submit a request with the Supreme Court to lift his immunity as soon as possible.
“This will give me the chance to give a statement to investigators so I can defend myself against allegations made by Sewerage Board manager Eftychios Malekkides, as they were presented by the media over the weekend,” wrote Sarikas in his letter.
The former mayor was implicated by Malekkides who claimed he was approached by Sarikas and a now deceased former municipal councillor in 2000 and asked to award a tender for Phase 1 of the town’s sewage project to a contractor that had promised them money.
Malekkides claimed in his statement that the two promised to include him in the deal and that he took the bribe because of his financial woes. He added that he tried to put a stop to the operation but was blackmailed by both Sarikas and his successor, former mayor Savvas Vergas.
The legal services told the court on Thursday for its part it considered that the material presented was sufficient but it was agreed that they would submit further information. This must be done within seven days and a further 15 days for Sarikas’ lawyers to object. A new hearing was set for February 2.
AG Costas Clerides expressed surprise with the about face. “Although [Mr Sarikas] two letters assured us that he accepted and encouraged us to reach out to the Supreme Court for the waiver of immunity, his lawyers requested the right to file a complaint,”he said.
Asked if he was aware of the change of attitude the Attorney-general said: “we had no prior consultation.”

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