By Angelos Anastasiou
The bill mandating transparency on the source of wealth of public officials who handle public funds will be prepared in such a way as to eliminate any risk of unconstitutionality, House Legal Affairs chairman Soteris Sampson said on Wednesday.
Speaking after a committee session, Sampson said a questionnaire was sent to 42 countries and responses were received on the way other countries addressed the issue.
Sampson added that the committee has not yet reached a final decision on the list of officials who will be required to declare their source of wealth, saying it will be presented once finalised.
With regard to the obligation of officials’ relatives to declare their assets, he said that the law regarding deputies also includes minor children, but added that in all likelihood the degree of relatives in scope will depend on the position held by each official.
“There are countries which require first-degree relatives to declare their source of wealth, but the majority of countries do not,” Sampson explained.
AKEL deputy Aristos Damianou said that his party was vindicated by the fact that the list it prepared when the legal affairs committee was chaired by the current justice minister – Ionas Nicolaou – included all officials that either handle public funds or are in a position to make important decisions, a widespread trend throughout Europe.
“We will update our list and submit proposals that will address certain issues,” Damianou said.
Responding to a question, the AKEL deputy said the Church must also be obliged to declare its source of wealth.
“Certainly, the institution of the Church, which engages in economic activity – and, by the way, political activity, as well – cannot be immune to transparency obligations,” he said.