By Evie Andreou
THE voluntary declarations of financial interests by seven out of the 56 MPs have been greeted as a step forward by Transparency Cyprus (IT-C).
The MPs were invited by Transparency Cyprus, a chapter of Transparency International, in December 18 to submit a three-page declaration in line with the code of ethics of the European Parliament.
“It is positive that even seven MPs responded. This is the first time something like this has happened in Cyprus. We hope that in the future there will be more response,” said IT-C’s executive director Nicolas Nicolaides on Thursday.
The declarations of AKEL’s Adamos Adamou, DIKO’s Antonis Antoniou and Georgios Prokopiou, the Green Party’s George Perdikis, and DISY ruling party’s Georgios Georgiou, Zacharias Zachariou and Nicos Tornaritis have been posted on the IT-C’s website.
EVROKO MP Demetris Syllouris has informed the IT-C of his intention to publicise his financial interests in the near future, Nicolaides said.
The forms were to be submitted by the end of January and were to be published on the IT-C’s website before February 10. Nicolaides said that they will extend the deadline until the end of the month so that more MPs can respond.
The MPs were asked to declare their professional activities outside parliament three years before they were elected, their participation in any company boards or other organisations, any other revenues from other activities – including writing, teaching, or consulting, if the fee exceeds €5,000 a year.
They were also asked to state their participation in any company that has any effect on public policy or if it gives the lawmaker significant influence over the organisation’s business. Personnel or material equipment afforded to the MP by third parties must also be declared.
“We took the form given to all European parliament members which they are obliged to fill out and we gave it to the Cypriot MPs,” Nicolaides said.
He said that the move was made to raise awareness on the subject but that the declaration needed to be institutionalised.
The invitation had come in the wake of the debate over what constitutes conflict of interest after it emerged that the Central Bank governor’s daughter was employed at her former husband’s law firm, which represents ex-Laiki Bank’s strongman Andreas Vgenopoulos.
Nicolaides said that IT-C is organising a conference on lobbying at the end of the month that aims to explain how those following some standard practices in Cyprus may not even realise they amount to conflicts of interest.
“We plan on inviting politicians too,” Nicolaides said.
Click on http://www.transparencycyprus.org/el/wordpress/archives/1680 to view declarations. In Greek only