The Water Development Department (WDD) is paying €50 million in rent for a building that costs €13.8 million with the land, the House Watchdog Committee heard on Tuesday.
The amount, the total for a 50-year contract valid from 2008 to 2058, was described as scandalous by the committee, the Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides and Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis, according to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
“This is a very strong contract and I have my doubts as to how much we can actually break it,” Kouyialis said adding that there seemed to be many people involved in the decision making process.
Results of an investigation were reportedly sent to the Attorney General in the hope that the legal services could shed some light on who was responsible.
“They were different times, the state was wealthier, the state could buy, sell, rent and do whatever it wanted. Unfortunately all of these things are revealed today but they are old sins that do not apply to the government in power at the time,” Koyialis said.
The contract stipulates rent for the first five years was €600,000 and would increase by €300,000 for the first five years, then by €600,000 and finally €1.1 million for the last five years.
The Committee also discussed the Cyprus Grain Commission, which according to Koyialis, may be the new Cyprus Airways scandal.
“The state and I need to make decisions as soon as possible because this will be another Cyprus Airways situation, the organisation will run out of liquidity and will not be able to even buy one kilo of corn,” Koyialis said.
He added that the commission needed a restructure as it had 66 staff doing the work four employees in the private sector could be doing but this was not the fault of the staff.