Two secret service (KYP) officers were jailed for six months each by the Larnaca court on Tuesday after being found guilty of taking bribes in the Dromolaxia land scandal.
The sentences handed to Sergeants Costas Miamiliotis and Lefteris Mouskos will date from January 17, the Cyprus News Agency reported. A request to suspend the sentence was denied.
The two police officers had pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to defraud the Republic of Cyprus between 2007 to 2010, punishable by up to five years in prison, and abuse of power, punishable by a jail-term of up to two years.
They were not sentenced for abuse of power as the other charges were deemed more serious.
They had been accused of taking bribes – €10,000 and €40,000, respectively – from businessman Nicos Lillis to prepare a false report that Turkish Cypriot Mustafa Mehmet Mustafa permanently resided in the free areas to enable a land transaction.
Selling properties located in the government-controlled areas owned by Turkish Cypriots is only allowed if the seller is a permanent resident – i.e., has lived in the government-controlled areas for at least six consecutive months.
The report enabled the interior minister – in his capacity as guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties – to approve the sale of land in Dromolaxia, Larnaca, owned by Mustafa to Lillis so that the developer could build the notorious Aero Center, an office complex later to be bought at inflated prices by the Cyprus
Telecommunications Authority’s pension fund.
The conspiracy earned five individuals prison terms following the ensuing trial, not including Lillis, who was cleared of all charges when he agreed to testify against his co-conspirators.
Lillis’ move also reduced the 18 charges Mamiliotis and Mouskos faced which included bribery and corruption – to two as he was no longer a prosecution witness.
Presiding judge Evi Antoniou said the two officers “handled the preparation of the report for the residence of the Turkish Cypriot landowner unbelievably lightly” but bore in mind their mitigating factors such as a clean record, their admission of their faults, their impeccable careers and that they did not reap any financial benefit from the case.
Additionally, the sentence also bore in mind the fact that other people were not prosecuted “as it is only this way the feeling of injustice can be alleviated, which is caused by unequal treatment.”