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Cyprus

MPs discuss how audit office could monitor candidates expenses

Auditor general Odysseas Michaelides

The House interior committee on Wednesday discussed how the auditor general’s office could monitor candidates running for presidential, parliamentary or European parliament elections in line with GRECO – the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body.

Chairman Yiannos Lamaris said the session found a compromise solution to the matter that has long been neglected as the auditor general’s office had said it was impossible for them to monitor all the data the bill outlines.

The bill could have a provision, Lamaris said that required TV and radio broadcasters to submit to the auditor-general any information on candidates’ advertisements.

Advertising companies would also be required to send data about billboards, posters, newspaper, magazine and text messaging ads.

Lawmakers hit a snag however when it comes to advertising online as it is difficult to monitor activity on the web.

According to Lamaris, Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides suggested all transactions should be made through bank accounts for transparency, allowing for easier monitoring.

Next week, the committee will discuss penalties for those who violate the law. One such measure could potentially be introducing fines, Lamaris said.

“I believe that by the end of October the discussions will be over so we can be on track with our commitments to GRECO.”

DISY MP Andreas Kyprianou said the bill was in line with GRECO to the extent that “it exceeds the guidelines as we might place a €30,000 ceiling on parliamentry candidates’ expenses and others that have to do with the auditor-general’s monitoring for particular expenditures that can be checked.

“In this way, we believe that all citizens of Cyprus will have equal opportunities of being elected in a fairer pre-election period.”

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