By George Psyllides
THOUSANDS of state employees, officials, and possibly others will be obliged to submit asset and source of funds statements, it emerged on Wednesday, after the issue was discussed behind closed doors by the House Legal Affairs Committee.
The list of people who would have to file statements include the presidents of the Republic and parliament, ministers, MPs, commissioners, judges, etc, local authority officials, semi-government board members, and civil servants from a particular pay scale (A11) onwards.
MPs are also discussing including media owners, journalists, and Church officials.
The aim is to have the legislation approved early in April, before the dissolution of parliament ahead of May’s elections.
The people on the list would have to submit a statement every 30 months. The statements will be audited by a committee – a separate one for every group.
Officials would also be obliged to submit a statement upon coming to office.
The statement will also include the assets of spouses and underage children. Cases where criminal offences are detected will be conveyed to the Legal Service.
Committee chairman, DISY MP Sotiris Sampson, said it was almost certain that parliament would need to amend the constitution to make enforcement of the law possible.
Sampson said the possibility of making the statements public will be discussed further.
But it appears that MPs are against publication, and according to one source, arguments broke out during the meeting on Wednesday.
Sampson sought to play this down, saying that even if the tone of voice changed, it did not mean there were quarrels.
AKEL MP Aristos Damianou said his party was in favour of publishing the statements of senior officials.
Damianou said three proposals were being examined: publication of all the information; publication only in the event of violations; and publication of certain information under specific criteria.
Green Party chairman Giorgos Perdikis appeared displeased over the disagreement of the members of the committee to publish the statement of assets as was the case in the majority of European countries.
He said people want to have access to the statements and “I don’t understand why Cyprus must keep politicians’ and others’ a closely guarded secret.”