Cyprus Mail
OpinionOur View

Our View: Lawful and unlawful enforcement of the law

WE DO NOT know whether there is any truth in the allegations of fraudulent accounting and poor maintenance of buses made against the Nicosia bus company OSEL by one of its shareholders. Given the irregularities at these state funded bus companies reported in the past nothing would surprise us even though for now there is no evidence to support these claims. The company in an announcement issued yesterday denied the allegations and invited the authorities to carry out an audit of its accounts to establish the truth.

Meanwhile, the shareholder, Tasos Michaelides, repeated his allegations yesterday, also claiming that politicians had taken backhanders so that the state would overpay OSEL. There will be an investigation of his allegations but even if he is proved correct the way he chose to publicise the alleged scam was totally unacceptable. Michaelides parked 24 of his buses on the road outside the presidential palace on Saturday and used another 30 to block the Arediou bus terminal that serves many villages of the Nicosia district. The result was that there were no bus services in the rural areas Monday and yesterday.

Inconveniencing the public, preventing many hundreds of children from going to school and causing traffic jams in the capital was not a very clever way of highlighting the alleged mismanagement at OSEL. If anything Michaelides undermined his credibility by acting in this absurd way, encouraging people to dismiss him as a crackpot. This view could only have been strengthened yesterday morning when he appeared on a radio show angrily protesting because on Monday night the police had used tow-trucks to remove the 20 buses he had parked on the road outside the presidential palace.

He insisted that the police had acted unlawfully and should not have removed his buses without a court order. This was indicative of the twisted attitude towards the law by many citizens. The man had illegally parked 24 buses on a double yellow line for three days and had the audacity to claim that police had acted unlawfully in removing them! This is Monty Python type absurdity, the law breaker attacking the police for enforcing the law unlawfully. The implication was that he had been breaking the law lawfully.

But the biggest blame for this absurd situation belongs to the police, which has a habit of negotiating with law breakers. The police had given permission to Michaelides to park his buses outside the presidential palace for three days. The only reason it sent the tow trucks in on Monday night was because the three days were up. But since when do the police give permission to people to break the law, even for a limited period? Do they have such a constitutional right? Is this how people would be persuaded to obey the law?

A real police force would have not have allowed buses to be parked outside the presidential palace for 10 minutes, let alone three days.

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