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Potamia councillor to remain in custody

By Andria Kades

The deputy leader of the Potamia community council will continue to join his boss in custody after he was re-remanded for seven days police confirmed on Saturday.

Court approved the order for Lakis Christou, aged 59, on Friday. He is suspected, along with his boss Panayiotis Yiatrou, of dodgy dealings including assigning works to companies without calling for tender and cashing cheques they were not supposed to.

The investigator for the case requested the remand on the premise of evaluating all the material and determining whether the case be filed to the criminal court.

According to daily Politis the investigator said acting on a witness statement, they had reason to suspect that cheques written to individuals to pay for invoices were cashed by members of the community council.

“There were payments by cheques that were endorsed by the beneficiary but were cashed by other people. Works were signed to companies and people without calling for tender.”

The court heard that the conspiratorial work the men are suspected of doing started years ago and between 2007 and 2011 works would be assigned to the same companies with council minutes lacking any proof that there was ever a call for tender or that any companies bid.

Cheques for invoices were signed by Christou and Yiatrou.

Police are also investigating 33 cheques totalling €110,860 that were donations from local companies to needy families but most of which were instead deposited by the two men in the local branch of PEO trade union’s bank account (PEO Potamias) and Paphos football club APOP.

Yiatrou is APOP’s secretary.

Police obtained copies of cheques issued by the PEO Potamia account to beneficiaries which included the two suspects.

Both are being investigated for charges including conspiracy, abuse of power, bribery and money laundering.

Yiatrou, who received a letter from Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos when he was initially arrested asking him to abstain from his duties when his remand was over, is also accused of receiving an additional €1,200 per year for ‘secretarial duties.’

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