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Cyprus

Paphos court to rule on SAPA separate charge requests

Fidias Sarikas (r)

By Angelos Anastasiou

THE Paphos Criminal court will issue an interim ruling on Tuesday on the Paphos Sewerage Board (SAPA) trial, following a request by defendants Fidias Sarikas and Yiorgos Shailis to be charged separately from the remaining three defendants, it announced on Friday.

Sarikas, Shailis, and former Paphos municipal councilmen Yiorgos Michaelides, Efstathios Efstathiou, and Vasos Vasiliou, are facing charges of conspiracy, taking bribes, and money laundering.

On Friday, state prosecutor Ninos Kekkos argued that all five defendants should be tried jointly because they were all at some point, and some remain, members of the Paphos Sewerage Board.

He added that the offences were committed during both phases A and B, and involve various contracts, and that the way in which the defendants acted is of the same nature, and therefore they should be charged jointly.

Kekkos cited the example of the ‘Dromolaxia’ case, where some of the defendants had also requested to be tried separately, but were denied by court.

Countering the defense’s argument that Sarikas and Shailis were elected to the Paphos municipal board before and after, respectively, the offences were committed, Kekkos said the decisive factor on whether the defendants should be tried jointly is not time, but the entirety of evidence.

Presiding judge Angelos David said the court would issue its interim decision on Tuesday at 10 am.
If the defendants’ motion is denied, they will be required to state their plea to the charges facing them, otherwise separate cases will be filed against each.

Michaelides, Efstathiou, and Vasiliou, have already pleaded not guilty.

Former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas and SAPA director Eftichios Malekkides are already serving jail sentences after they took a plea bargain, by which they confessed to conspiracy and taking bribes but were handed lighter sentences in exchange for blowing the whistle on the rest of the conspirators.

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