THE LAVISH praise and gushing write-ups have quite clearly gone to auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides’ head. The signs of megalomania he has been exhibiting recently are frightening, and what had initially seemed an inspired appointment by Prez Nik is increasingly looking like another error of judgment.
The guy is acting like Kyproulla’s supreme ruler, intimidating civil servants and ministers, blocking executive decisions, leaking stories to the media aimed at his glorification, instructing the Attorney-General to investigate a minister over some gossip he heard and generally showing off about his political and moral superiority.
With his terror tactics, he has ground the state machinery to a halt. Senior civil servants are reluctant to take any decision for fear that Odysseas would find some weakness in the procedure that would lead him to name and shame them. Government sources say tender procedures are moving at a snail’s pace because of Odysseas’ constant meddling.
He has done some very good things as auditor-general but this success accompanied by endless public plaudits has made him think he is an untouchable, God-like figure who has the divine authority to sit in judgment of everyone. I will not say anything else in case he writes a scathing report about the incorrect procedure we followed when ordering our coffee supplies and leaks it to the press.
ODYSSEAS showed his true colours last week after his row on Tuesday with interior minister Socratis Hasikos at a House committee meeting. Hasikos, for the second time in a few weeks, committed the cardinal sin of questioning the mighty Odysseas’ actions and motives, suggesting that he was abusing his powers and constantly courting publicity by leaking all his reports to the media.
No-one else has dared to speak so disparagingly about the self-regarding Odysseas in public and to puncture his substantial ego. The streetwise Hasikos debunked the popular myth about the saintly Odysseas’ noble crusade to clean up Kyproulla by highlighting his publicity-seeking agenda and bullying tactics.
The auditor-general’s reaction confirmed the veracity of the minister’s words. The next day Phil had a story about a letter Odysseas had sent to the Attorney-General accusing the interior minister of granting 800 entry visas, based on forged documents, to third country nationals. He asked the AG to investigate whether the minister had committed a criminal offence.
Yet Odysseas knew there was no such issue as there was no evidence the documents were forged, only rumours. This was made clear to him by the interior ministry and he knew that Hasikos had granted the visas after making additional demands of the 50 Bangladeshis with allegedly suspect documentation. The real criminal offence committed by Hasikos it seems is that he pooh-poohed on Odysseas’ carefully-crafted public image and hurt his enlarged ego.
THE VINDICTIVENESS of the saintly auditor did not end there. On Thursday, Phil had another lead story featuring a leaked letter from the foreign ministry saying the “documents are forged/altered/fake.” Was this the work of the leaker-general?
There is only circumstantial evidence to support this. As the perm sec of the foreign ministry explained to CyBC, there was a lot of correspondence about the matter and the publication of an isolated letter did not give the full picture. Who did it suit not to give the full picture and to create the impression that Hasikos had based his decision on forged documents?
The only suspect is the leaker-general, whose mastery of media manipulation has never been disputed by anyone – not even by the non-believer Hasikos.
“BIZONAL (federation) with funding from Islam” was a headline in Tuesday’s Simerini which reported in its customary combative style that Mustafa Akinci had taken the liberty to talk about Islamic states providing much-needed funds for the settlement that everyone expects to cost billions.
Akinci said that at a meeting with the general secretary of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation in New York he mentioned that a Cyprus settlement would require funds to pay for property compensation. He did not go into details but hoped that in the future he would discuss the matter extensively with the general secretary of the OIC and that the Islamic world would contribute to the funding needs of a solution.
Now there is another good reason for the Zeus group to oppose a settlement – Islamic funding, because no Christian country is going to waste its money compensating overfed, greedy, pampered, luxury car-owning Cypriots when there are so many worse-off people in the world much more deserving of help.
SPEAKING of headlines, there was a hilarious one in Tuesday’s Cyprus Mail. It said, “Kythrea refugee donates €3 million to university.” The story was about a Cypriot professor who had been working in the US for decades and wanted to give something back to Kyproulla. Technically speaking, he may have been a refugee, but I doubt he would be seeking asylum in Germany.
AS REGARDS the prohibitive cost of the settlement, perhaps our negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis could make a contribution by cutting down on his overseas campaigning for the Asia presidency of the UN General Assembly. Mavroyiannis was in Manhattan for three weeks in September, camped at the same luxury hotel that Nik stayed at, at the taxpayer’s expense. He was there not for the Cyprob but in the pursuit of his personal ambition, which we are generously funding. Why has the brave Odysseas not leaked any report to the press about this blatant squandering of the taxpayer’s money, suggesting that Mavroyiannis could have chosen a much cheaper hotel and not have been entitled to per diem as he was in the Big Apple for personal business? Was it because he wanted to show solidarity with a fellow sacred cow of Kyproulla?
THE BASH patriots of Sigmalive published an opinion poll conducted by LS Prime Market Research and Consulting last Sunday which seemed designed to get the answers the hardliners of the Zeus group wanted. It found that 80 per cent of Greek Cypriots did not want any guarantors and 90 per cent want the Turkish settlers gone.
When you ask someone ‘do you want the Turkish settlers to leave?’ what answer can you expect to get. If anything it was a surprise that only 90 per cent answered yes. More revealing was the finding that 77 per cent did not want to see a ‘virgin birth’ of the new state. I bet more than 77 per cent don’t have clue what the ‘virgin birth’ in a Cyprob context is about.
Commentators on websites claimed that the company that carried out this ridiculous poll was owned by a
friend/employee/associate of Ethnarch Junior. All I can say is that 13 per cent of respondents believed Junior followed a correct policy on the Cyprob. Yiorkos Lillikas, who follows the exact same negative policy, only got the thumbs up from 4.7 per cent of respondents, which proves beyond unreasonable doubt that Junior’s negativity is of a higher quality than the Paphite’s.
IT WAS only a few weeks ago that the opportunist Paphite had called on Prez Nik to “deconstruct” Akinci’s “picture of saintliness”, yet when an open goal opportunity was presented a couple of days ago Lillikas refused to even take a shot.
Referring to Akinci’s comments about derogations, which scandalised the all right-thinking patriots – an overjoyed Phil saw it as a burning of bridges – a resigned Yiorkos did not seize the opportunity for some earnest deconstruction. Instead, he said, these were “extremely disappointing and proved that on the substance of the Cyprob he (Akinci) moves within the framework of unchanging Turkish policy with the most extreme position.”
I would have thought the Paphite would be ecstatic, opening the zivania bottles to celebrate now that he had conclusive proof that Akinci was a nasty, intransigent Turk as Yiorkos had been claiming all along. How could he have been extremely disappointed after being proved right? Someone should inform him that Paphites come across as complete phoneys when they try to be gracious in victory – it is not in their primitive nature.
OUR FARMERS were furious when they read reports about the alleged import of 16 tonnes of Turkish tomatoes, which were baptised as occupied Cyprus produce by the TC Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) and lawfully brought to the free areas by unpatriotic, profiteering vegetable suppliers thanks to the Green Line regulations.
Apart from this being a violation of the Green Line regulations, farmers warned that Turkish tomatoes were harmful not only to our national cause but also to our health because as Kibris Postasi reported, the pseudo health services had detected pesticides exceeding permitted levels.
The illegal tomatoes, according to the circulating gossip reported by the papers wanting to make the story more dramatic, were being supplied to the National Guard, a claim that had a positive side to it – the occupier was ensuring our Guardsmen were not deprived of their daily intake of vitamin C that makes them strong and healthy and better prepared to defend the country.
Despite the illegal importation tomatoes last week were still selling for €3 per kilo. If it had not been for the 16 tonnes of Turkish tomatoes we would probably have been paying €6 per kilo and you would have to pay an extra charge if you wanted some in your pitta of kebab.
THE TOMATO fuss was made by the obscure Evroko farmers’ association Evroagrotikos which probably has no more than 10 members. Its head honcho Lambros Achilleos demanded that microbiological testing was introduced at the checkpoint, regardless of cost, for all agricultural products.
He did not explain what the cost would be not to mention the time it would take to test 16,000 kilos of tomatoes. Agriculture minister Nicos Kouyialis, himself an Evroko member, took the tomato threat seriously, telling the CyBC he would complain to the EU as this was not the first time tomatoes with forged documentation had been given an entry visa.
It is not only Bangladeshi students who obtain entry visas with forged documentation but in the case of the tomatoes Odysseas has failed to report the ministry of agriculture to the Attorney-General for a suspected criminal offence.
KOUYIALIS said that in the case of some “products, especially tomatoes, it is difficult to detect their country of origin, especially when the KKTO issues certificates for them.” To help the fight against the invader’s tomatoes, here are some ways of spotting a Turkish tomato:
Hold it in your hand and squeeze it – if it is hard and intransigent it is Turkish; if it is the red colour of the Turkish flag, it is Turkish; if it smells of chemicals, it is Turkish; if it has moustache it is Turkish, although this is not a reliable test.
The most reliable way of establishing their origin, unfortunately, is after you have consumed them. Turkish tomatoes cause terrible tummy ache and frequent visits to the toilet. Perhaps if we cannot afford to conduct microbiological tests at the checkpoint, Kouyialis could get 10 volunteers to eat a couple of kilos each and then check how their tummy responds.
I WOULD happily throw some Turkish tomatoes at the bullying leaders of the bank employees’ union ETYK, who on Friday announced a two-hour work stoppage at Hellenic Bank this Thursday in protest against management’s arbitrary decision to discuss future plans with staff.
No decision was taken, there was no violation of agreements, but the union called the strike anyway. The bank’s crime was that it had arranged a series of meetings with workers to discuss the possibility of changing working hours so that it could better serve customers.
At one of these meetings an employee asked why the bank had to become more customer-friendly, a term oft-repeated by the CEO who was chairing the meeting. He suggested that the bank should educate the customers so they would adjust to the employee-friendly working hours. Business schools of the world take note.
IF YOU are at home feeling bored and can’t be bothered to think what to do, why don’t you get in the car, take the scenic road from Nicosia to Astromeritis and join this morning’s march of the Morphites. If you want some excitement and a little uplifting – an affirmation of your faith in life – there is one place to be this morning.