By Elias Hazou
The House ethics committee will next week finalise its report on the issue of Central Bank (CBC) governor Chrystalla Georghadji’s contract.
The committee will be holding an all-day session behind closed doors on Friday, June 5, where they aim to put the finishing touches to the probe, which relates to conflict of interest and incompatibility of office in connection to the central banker.
Next the committee would submit the report to the House Speaker and also decide how to make use of the report – for example whether it will be tabled for discussion at the plenum.
Georghadji is under the spotlight over her employment contract, which she allegedly amended, giving herself a salary bump as well as inserting less-stringent conflict-of-interest restrictions.
The CBC chief claimed that she had attached notes to the contract, informing the President of both amendments. The Presidential Palace said the notes were never found.
President Nicos Anastasiades suggested at the time he had been duped by Georghadji and that he was unaware of her circumstances – a claim many find implausible.
At the President’s urging, an application has been filed with the Supreme Court for Georghadji’s dismissal.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, AKEL MP Aristos Damianou said the ethics committee’s report records “serious elements concerning both the Central Bank as well as the Presidential Palace.”
Last November, Georghadji found herself in hot water after the reveal that her daughter worked for her estranged husband’s law firm, which represented former Laiki Bank strongman Andreas Vgenopoulos, whom the lender’s former Special Administrator took to court over his alleged role in the bank’s failure in March 2013.
The employment of Georghadji’s daughter at the law firm was seen as a serious conflict of interest for the governor, who also chairs the Resolution Authority – comprising the Central Bank’s board of directors.
The imputation was that Georghadji had access to confidential information on the Vgenopoulos case, which she might then share with the law firm her daughter was working for.
Now, the House ethics committee is divided as to whether it should table its report on Georghadji immediately or wait until the Supreme Court has delivered a verdict.
Greens MP George Perdikis was among those arguing that the report must be tabled to the plenum without delay, otherwise it might be rendered redundant.
He also accused the CBC governor of refusing to furnish parliament with a report prepared by Laiki’s former Special Administrator.
“It is a flagrant affront to the House, which obstructs parliamentary audit,” said Perdikis, adding that Georghadji ought to be formally summoned before the House ethics committee.
The committee meanwhile is continuing discussion of a study prepared by two University of Cyprus law professors, which deals with conflict of interest and incompatibility of office for state and public officials.
The study is to form the skeleton for a new bill, which parliament plans to start shaping on June 9.
In addition, on June 2 the ethics committee will continue discussion of the Political Party Law relating to party funding.